Alkaline Fuel Cells with Novel Gortex-Based Electrodes are Powered Remarkably Efficiently by Methane Containing 5% Hydrogen
Numerous electric and gas utilities are actively pursuing "power-to-gas" technology, which involves using unwanted, excess renewable energy to manufacture hydrogen gas (H 2 ) that is then injected into the existing natural gas pipeline network in 5-10% by volume. This work reports an alkaline fuel cell that has the potential to harness such gas mixtures for downstream generation of electric power. The fuel cell, which employs novel Gortex-based electrodes layered with Pd/Pt catalysts, generates electricity remarkably efficiently when fuelled with methane (CH 4 ) containing 5% hydrogen. Methane constitutes the major component of natural gas. The fuel cell has been studied over a range of hydrogen to methane ratios using Tafel plots and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. These show that, in terms of fundamental operation, there is, astonishingly, almost no difference between using pure hydrogen and 5% hydrogen in methane, as the fuel. The Gortex electrodes and alkaline electrolyte are clearly able to utilize the dilute hydrogen as a fuel with remarkable efficiency. The methane acts as an inert carrier gas and is not consumed.