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Liquid hydrogen carrier testing

FAU tests energy carriers to find a new form of energy storage

Current research by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Artl and Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid of Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) focuses on a new concept for storing and transporting regenerative energy for mobile applications. The concept is based on using energy generated at “energy rich” locations (wind farms, photovoltaic fields) at an “energy rich” time to charge a low-energy liquid in a chemical reaction with electrolytically produced hydrogen. This energy enriched liquid can then be stored without any losses over long periods of time, transported with high-energy density and distributed using modern infrastructure (e.g. pipelines, tankers, fuel depots, fueling stations). The energy from the enriched liquid is then liberated when and where necessary through hydrogen release. The liquid can then be returned to the energy production site. Both scientists recently spoke about the current state of research in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, DOI:10.1039/C1EE01454D.

The innovative technology is based on a patent of the company Air Products from 2004 and uses what are known as “Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers” (LOHC). These energy carrying compounds can exist in low-energy form and an energy-rich hydrogenated form. The chemical N-ethylcarbazole often shortened to carbazole is at the core of current research.

Large-scale energy supply from regenerative sources (wind farms in the North Sea, Desertec etc.) is a hot topic today. However, this supply can only be assured if suitable technological methods are found to store and transport large amounts of energy with minimum energy loss. Only then can seasonal fluctuations in production be balanced out and only then can a more efficient non-electric transportation of useful energy to the point of use be realized. The use of the researched LOHC system is considered diverse and ranges from mobility applications (for instance running cars with combustion engines or fuel cells) to the stabilisation of electrical networks to global energy transportation.

“Erlangen provides the ideal research environment for this subject matter. The combination of system-oriented approaches and excellent materials research allows us to carry out particularly fast-paced research at the FAU”, says Prof. Artl, chair of Separation Science and Technology at the FAU and scientific director of the newly established Energy Campus Nuremberg. “The development of new types of catalysts for hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions particularly benefit from the interdisciplinary cooperation in the Erlangen cluster of excellence between Materials Science, Chemistry and Process Engineering”, added Prof. Wasserscheid (Head of the Chemical Reactions Engineering Department).

Further information for the media:

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Arlt
Tel.: 09131/85-27440

Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid
Tel.: 09131/85-27420

uni | media service | research No. 32/2011 on 08.07.2011

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