SIQENS presents a compact prototype of a high temperate methanol fuel cell with a 1kW output.
Siqens GmbH, a young and innovative company that develops and produces off-grid energy converters, presents their new alpha-prototype at this year’s World of Energy fair in Stuttgart for the first time to international specialists. The compact prototype with 1 kW electrical power output represents a key step towards market entry for a new type of fuel cell. This novel fuel cell succeeded, for the first time, in utilizing methanol directly in the energy converter unit – the so-called ‘stack’. Because of high temperatures in the stack, the methanol is volatile, which requires a new technological solution.
SIQENS has come further in an important step in the development of a new fuel cell technology. In 2012 the company received an f-cell award for their innovative concept of a high-temperature methanol fuel cell. At that time, the biggest challenges in technical implementation of the concept and preparation of marketability lay still ahead of the developing team around the founder and today´s CTO, Volker Harbusch. In the beginning of October Siqens can present the first prototype which, for the first time, proves technical feasibility in a compact system.
Degree of Efficiency is Second to None
Presently available methanol fuel cells on the market can only be operated at low temperatures, and with a low degree of efficiency. Alternatively, one can first convert methanol in an external reformer into hydrogen, which was accompanied by a marked decrease in the efficiency. SIQENS by its new concept, in contrast, converts methanol directly in the stack to hydrogen for energy generation. „By direct connection of the generation of hydrogen to the intrinsic fuel cell reaction we could benefit from waste heat which is usually is hard to make use of and which increases our degree of efficiency“, comments Volker Harbusch, CTO of SIQENS. The electrical degree of efficiency of 36 % measured in an open laboratory installation should be increased to over 40 % with the new prototype. The compact prototype achieves more than 1 kW power output, and is in a primary stage for a close to market test series. This series will be presented at the Hannover Fair 2015, and will open the market for SIQENS.
„We are convinced that, in distinct markets with our novel high temperature methanol system, we could completely replace traditional technical concepts “, said Dr. Lars Behrend, managing director responsible for sales and marketing. In different market segments – like the leisure market, or off-grid energy supply of important infrastructure facilities – there is a high demand for a maintenance-free, eco-friendly energy converter. Trend-setting energy solutions, that differentiate from conventional combustion engines in that they do not cause noise or toxic gases, will influence the market field effectively. „A further important advantage for our customer is that our system makes use of a liquid and easily available fuel, contrasting positively against the conventional hydrogen fuel cell“, explains Behrend his market analysis.
SIQENS, founded in Munich in 2012, develops and produces methanol fuel cells. The devices are used as an alternative to diesel generators and are used for backup power, as well as in locations without a fixed connection to the power grid.
The SIQENS fuel cell system, the Ecoport, runs on liquid methanol. Inside the Ecoport, hydrogen is derived from the methanol. The hydrogen then reacts with oxygen to generate electrical energy. The Ecoport is connected to a battery and automatically recharges it as needed. Connected electrical devices are supplied directly from the battery. Thanks to patented circuits for the recovery of process media and energy, the system runs exceptionally efficiently.
In contrast to diesel generators, fuel cells are economical, require hardly any maintenance and emit neither particulate matter nor nitrogen oxides, in addition to significantly reducing CO2 emissions. And with methanol from renewable sources, operation is completely climate-neutral.
Learn more about SIQENS fuel cells.