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Advanced system for producing electricity with high efficiency, low cost and non-pollutant

Grant number: 01/08486-2
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: March 01, 2002 - June 30, 2004
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal researcher:Antonio Cesar Ferreira
Grantee:Antonio Cesar Ferreira
Company:Unitech Projetos, Pesquisas, Desenvolvimento, Consultoria e Comércio Ltda
City: Cajobi


The project is aimed at the development of a system for the production of electrical energy, using a fuel cell integrated with a hydrogen production system. Two sources of hydrogen will be researched: solar energy (via water electrolysis) and ethanol reformation. The studies of this first phase will be undertaken to ascertain the technological and economic viability of the two sources of hydrogen. In the case of the electrolysis of water, solar energy will be used as the primary source of energy. Despite the electrolysis of water being commercially used, its cost for producing electrical energy remains high when compared to traditional electricity generators. In order to reduce the cost of the hydrogen, experiments will be carried out to produce it by means of the ionic conductive polymer electrolyte type of technology. Ionic conductive polymer electrolysis has demonstrated an energy reduction of up to 20 per cent. The price of the kilowatt/hour (kWh) with the use of solar energy/electrolyte/fuel cells system could be US$ 0.11. At such a cost, this form of producing electrical energy could have great technological and economic potential. On the other hand, one cubic meter of ethanol can produce up to 5 cubic meters of hydrogen through the reformation reaction. In this way, the cost per kWh could reach US$ 0.049. This value makes the use of the ethanol reformation/fuel cell system to produce electricity quite attractive. Still within the first phase of the work, research will be undertaken into new types of catalysts for ethanol reformation based on palladium, platinum and cerium. These catalysts have been used in the reformation of natural gas, methanol and gasoline. (AU)

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