Carbazole: The electric fuel?

December 10, 2013 | 14:37
Carbazole: The electric fuel?
Carbazole: The electric fuel?

A new type of fuel could be an alternative to batteries as energy sources and helping to boost the hydrogen breakthrough.


This goal is pursued by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Excellence Cluster of Engineering of Advanced Materials at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Energy Campus Nuremberg, by researching a mobility option that provides for the storage of energy in liquids, making it compatible with today's petrol / diesel supply. These so-called energy-carrying substances (ETS) will be recycled and not consumed. This distinguishes them from the current system of fuel.


In Nuremberg, the substance N-ethylcarbazole is being researched in terms of an energy-carrying liquid, which can be quasi recharged with hydrogen: byu absorbing hydrogen, the liquid is chemically converted into a high-energy "perhydro-form."


In the application in the vehicle, hydrogen is chemically removed from this energy-rich liquid, for use as fuel for by a fuel-cell electric drive or an internal combustion engine. When refueling the ‘discharged’ (i.e. energy reduced) carbazole is simply pumped out and replaced by a fresh (high energy) amount. For car owners, the only change is the shape of the refueling nozzle. The ‘used’ carbazole is collected at gas stations and later regenerated -- preferably using renewable energy sources.


The new technology competes with the technology already available to the 700-bar high-pressure storage of pure hydrogen in vehicles. The new technology has a marked advantage in allowing existing service station infrastructures to be used. Also, no pressure is required; the substance N-ethylcarbazole is similar to diesel in many ways. One liter of N-ethylcarbazole allows almost twice as much hydrogen (54 grams) to be stored as in the equivalent volume of a 700-bar hydrogen tank. The range and power would be equivalent to today's vehicles.


The technology development at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is headed by Professors Arlt and Wasserscheid. They have formed a consortium comprising vehicle manufacturers, the German chemical industry, a utility company, an electric engineering company and gas producers. Energy-carrying substances such Carbozol can also be used for the stabilization of the electricity system and for energy storage in solar powered homes.


Funding for a preliminary evaluation of this technology was applied for at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.


Source: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Arlt



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