Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Renewable and Clean

Abstract:
New kind of fuel cell delivers energy and fine chemicals with no waste from renewable raw materials

Renewable and Clean

Weinheim, Germany | Posted on October 1st, 2010

The concept of converting renewable raw materials so cleverly that the same process simultaneously produces both energy and industrially desirable chemicals has been high on the wish-list for those who seek environmentally friendly and resource-saving chemistry. The process should also not release any carbon dioxide. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Hansjörg Grützmacher, Francesco Vizza, and Claudio Bianchini and their co-workers from the ETH in Zürich (Switzerland) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) in Sesto Fiorentino (Italy) have now introduced a new kind of fuel cell: an organometallic fuel cell that efficiently converts alcohols and sugars into carboxylic acids.

Differing from established alcohol fuel cells—the direct alcohol fuel cell and the enzymatic biofuel cell—the organometallic fuel cell (OMFC) works in a completely different way. The secret behind its success is a special molecular complex of rhodium metal that functions as an anode catalyst. The scientists deposited the complex onto a carbon powder support. The interesting thing is that the active catalyst forms during the chemical reaction, and changes step-by-step throughout the catalytic cycle. In this way, a single metal complex forms different catalysts that are each specific for an individual reaction step: the conversion of an alcohol (e.g. ethanol) into the corresponding aldehyde, making the aldehyde into the corresponding carboxylic acid (e.g. acetic acid), and transferring protons (H+) and electrons. As well as alcohols, this system can also convert sugars such as glucose in the same way.

The researchers hope that their new approach could turn out to be a breakthrough in fuel-cell technology. A particular advantage of their new method is that molecular metal complexes are soluble in various solvents, which allows them to be very finely dispersed over very small surfaces. In addition, they provide a very high power density. This could be a way to further miniaturize fuel cells for use as power sources for biological applications like heart pacemakers and biosensors, as well as for the in-vivo monitoring of metabolic processes.

Through the right combination of a tailored molecular catalyst structure and a suitable support material, it could be possible to develop future fuel cells that very selectively convert starting materials with multiple alcohol groups into valuable premium chemicals without the generation of waste materials. This task is very difficult to accomplish by traditional methods.

Author: Hansjörg Grützmacher, ETH Zürich (Switzerland), www.gruetzmacher.ethz.ch/people/hansjoerg

Title: A Biologically Inspired Organometallic Fuel Cell (OMFC) That Converts Renewable Alcohols into Energy and Chemicals

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2010, 49, No. 40, 7229-7233, Permalink to the article: dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201002234

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Angewandte Chemie International Edition

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design: Increased power and slashed energy consumption for data centers August 24th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

Possible Futures

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design: Increased power and slashed energy consumption for data centers August 24th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Sensors

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

'Sniffer plasmons' could detect explosives: Scientists have proposed a graphene-based spaser that can detect even small amounts of various substances, including explosives August 16th, 2016

Perpetual 'ice water': Stable solid-liquid state revealed in nanoparticles: Gallium nanoparticles that are both solid and liquid are stable over a range of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit August 5th, 2016

New metamaterials can change properties with a flick of a light-switch: Material can lead to new optical devices August 3rd, 2016

Announcements

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design: Increased power and slashed energy consumption for data centers August 24th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

Environment

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

SLAC, Stanford gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster: Plopped into water, a tiny device triggers the formation of chemicals that kill microbes in minutes August 15th, 2016

'Liquid fingerprinting' technique instantly identifies unknown liquids: Ability to instantly identify unknown liquids in the field could aid first responders, improve plant safety August 4th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

W.M. Keck Foundation awards Cal State LA a $375,000 research and education grant August 4th, 2016

Proton pinball on the catalyst: Moisture helps catalyst in fuel cells August 3rd, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic