Group develops SOFC that produces electricity with ethanol

By Green Science Alliance Co. Ltd. | July 28, 2021

Green Science Alliance has been developing various types of electrode and solid electrolyte for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). This time, Hideki Yoshioka and Ryohei Mori at Green Science Alliance have created SOFC which can produce electricity not with hydrogen, but with bio-ethanol.

Environmental problem such as climate crisis, depletion of natural resource, extinction of species etc. caused by human population explosion and activity is becoming a serious issue. Creating the society which is independent from petroleum and fossil fuel, is an urgent task. Fuel cells are one of the ideal renewable energy because they can utilize hydrogen as clean energy. 

However, hydrogen storage is very difficult and building up its infrastructure is very expensive because hydrogen is the smallest atom in the universe. Thus, researchers have been trying to use liquid or solid based fuel instead of hydrogen gas such as ammonia, methylcyclohexane, formic acid, methanol, hydrazine and ammonia borane etc. In this regard, Green Science Alliance has chosen ethanol or bio-ethanol because infrastructure is already built up in the industrial area. Especially when bio-ethanol is used as fuel, they can be regarded as carbon neutral system.

With their experiment, when approximately 33 percent of ethanol (the rest was water) was used as fuel, created SOFC exhibited approximately 75 – 80 percent of electric power compared to when pure hydrogen was used as fuel. Carbon deposition on SOFC anodes can be concerned when ethanol is used as fuel.  Since they have been synthesizing electrodes, solid electrolytes for SOFCs by themselves in their company, Green Science Alliance will continue to improve its electric power, durability as well as carbon deposition issue. In addition, Green Science Alliance has the technology of producing bio-ethanol from various types of biomass waste such as wood waste, bamboo waste, paper waste, food waste etc..., they can combine their technologies by applying developed SOFC and bio-ethanol from biomass waste. That will be an ideal recycle system for carbon free society and circular economy.

Green Science Alliance is the company which focuses on developing cutting edge materials and technologies for carbon free society. More precisely, they research nature biomass biodegradable resin, coating, paint, color, glue, fuel (nature biomass based chemical products), next generation solar cell, fuel cell, rechargeable battery, COcapture and utilization (artificial photosynthesis) etc. Some of their technologies are registered by the United Nation Organization (UNIDO's platform "STePP", WIPO GREEN) and they were also selected as finalists on the startup incubation programme of UNOPS GIC Japan in 2020.