Team FAST is currently working on a life-sized bus that runs on Hydrozine. Before starting on the actual bus, we developed a scale model of one meter in length. This small prototype is the FormAuto Jr. ,. We built this prototype as a proof of concept. It produces about 25 Watts in power and was revealed in January 2016. This created a lot of media attention, from Discovery Channel to Russia Today. A real sized bus of course uses a lot more power than 25 Watts. We need a thousand times more power to make the bus move! To upscale the process, we moved to a new location to test the device.
Date of completion
Problem Solved by Project
Climate change is currently one of the biggest issues of our society. The exhaust of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2 and NOx's, are one of the main contributors to climate change the enhanced greenhouse effect . This innovation is a smart solution which helps to reduce these exhausts and thus helps battle climate change.
Knowledge the project generated
Hydrozine consists of 99% formic acid. The rest is an additive that makes formic acid applicable under all circumstances, like cold weather. Formic acid is a molecule that consists of both carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2). It is a chemical molecule that is found in nature in for example ants. In industry, it is often used as a livestock food preservative.
We use formic acid to carry high amounts of energy. Under the influence of a catalyst, formic acid can be split into CO2 and H2. A new catalyst invented at the TU/e by the group of dr. Evgeny Pidko, sparked our interest in formic acid as an energy carrier. The catalyst we currently use was developed by dr. G. (Gábor) Laurenczy at the research group ISIC Group of Catalysis for Energy and Environment at the Institute of chemical sciences and engineering at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). This catalyst is much more stable than the old one and uses water as the solvent. Dr. Laurenczy developed a catalyst that merges hydrogen and CO2 into formic acid and vice versa, this was previously possible, but never this stable. Besides it being much more stable than the old one, it also uses water as the solvent. To produce the formic acid, energy is needed to bind the H2 (from the water) to the CO2. In our system, formic acid is converted to H2 and CO2.
Team FAST is an ambitious, multidisciplinary student team from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) that stands for sustainability and innovation. The Team consists of over 30 students from the TU/e and Fontys Eindhoven.
A new technology is emerging from efforts to increase the sustainability of transport. Besides the well-known electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, Team FAST – a group of students at Eindhoven University of Technology – has developed a technique that allows vehicles to run on formic acid. Formic acid is quite effective for storing energy. The diagram below demonstrates why this energy carrier is so sustainable. Formic acid is produced using carbon dioxide, water and electricity. Then, when the energy is reclaimed from the formic acid, carbon dioxide and water are released once again. Because the amount of carbon dioxide used in production is equal to that released, the process forms a closed circuit. In contrast to the use of fossil fuels, this method does not result in the emission of addition carbon dioxide.
fuel, formic acid has an advantage over electricity and hydrogen in that it is liquid and can be used to fill a fuel tank. There is no need to wait for a battery to charge, for instance, and it can be easily implemented within the existing fuel infrastructure. The liquid state of the acid also ensures it is much less flammable than hydrogen: in fact, it is less flammable than diesel. Formic acid additionally has a higher energy intensity than electricity, which means that vehicles powered by formic acid have a larger action radius than electric vehicles.
During the production of formic acid, CO2 is taken from the air and combined with water to produce a reaction. Within the motor, this reaction takes place in reverse. The CO2 that is released is then ‘recycled’ to produce formic acid once again. In other words, it is a sustainable way to drive.
Cost and Benefits
Cost and benefits
Refueling your Hydrozine car is just as easy as refueling a standard gasoline car. There is no need to wait for a battery to recharge at a charging station.
As a fuel, formic acid has an advantage over electricity and hydrogen in that it is liquid and can be used to fill a fuel tank. There is no need to wait for a battery to charge, for instance, and it can be easily implemented within the existing fuel infrastructure.