Amid enormous carbon emission, we are in the race to curb carbon footprint. In this regard, our team is doing research on FC technology. FC consists three mejor components i.e. positive electrode, negative electrode and membrane. Our team has managed the develop and fabricate of Ionic exchange membrane and ionic exchange membranes which plays an important role to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
FC uses chemical energy to convert into electrical energy. Using hydrogen as fuel, under high pressure it is compressed unto catalyst on the anode. Electrons and ions are split hydrogen ion allowed to go through membrane usually PEM while electrons are directed to a positive electrode, while hydrogen ion combines with oxygen to produce water as by product. the process. If the process is repeated on the reverse using deionized water hydrogen is and oxygen are split and stored. the process is known as electrolysis. Other Fuel can be converted into electricity such as methanol, pure ammonia and so on. Our focus at ZEOLF our work targets Hydrogen and methanol as source of energy. While single cell is knonw as FC a combination of multiple cell compressed althogether are known as Fuel Cell Stack.
Single cell consists of similar parts explained above. Our work developed membrane binded with fuel cell using carbon based catalyst and gasquete to make a fuel cell. The concept can last up to 2-3days, using low pressure can reach up to 10W of power. It can be used in schools to teach chemistry / we also use it to test the capacity of new material of the membrane.
The catalyst is a black squared sheet, is carbon based material attached unto PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) The proton membranes are used because the allow hydrogen ion pass through. in smilar methanol uses MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) however unoticable quantity of carbon can be emitted. We choose Methanol to be used because the distribution of fuel process is much safer for long distance in contrast with Hydrogen gas which much lighter.
While designing this project, as Rwandan we were mostly worried to energy scarcity around the rural area. Mostly the expense of grid maintainance in those process which creates loss that leads to bad services or even no power delivery system. In order to be sustainable enough, We wanted a solution that can be home grown in terms of resources and manufacturing process. Hydrogen and Methanol can be locally produced while other material needed to build FC can be outsources in our region. this means at least 70% of all materials can be found in our region. Other main reason we are investing into this technology, In other case we want to use this case to study challenges in order to build new energy delivery capability by minimizing noise, using HFC fro heavy transportation system and so on.
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