|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Daimler-Benz has demonstrated a vehicle powered by a fuel-cell which gets its hydrogen from methanol, via a "reformer". But methanol contains quite a lot of carbon. What happens to the carbon? Daimler and Ballard are remarkably silent about this... The atomic weights in methanol add up like this: 12 parts carbon 16 parts oxygen 4 parts hydrogen, for a total of 32. So 12 parts in 32 (37.5%) of the weight of each liter of methanol is elemental carbon. Methanol has a specific gravity of approximately 0.8, so a 70 liter tank of methanol fuel contains 21 kg of carbon. If we assume this is converted to graphite, it would be a solid cube 32 cm on an edge. (A cubic foot of black sooty stuff, weighing about 45 lbs.) Where does it go? If it still ends up in the atmosphere as CO2 (this is where the carbon in gasoline goes), what have we gained by using the fuell-cell technology?
Re: What happens to the carbon in methanol when it is used in a fuel cell?
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