Hydrogen fuel cell technology allows
the generation of clean electricity. Inside
the cells, hydrogen combines with oxygen to
generate electricity with the only emission
being water. Electric cars have been developed
that run on these fuel cells but a problem
has been the best way to provide the hydrogen
for the cell. Liquid hydrogen, stored in a
high pressure tank, is not really practical.
BASF have developed
a catalyst that allows liquid methanol to be
used as a hydrogen-source for the fuel cell.
Made from a mixture of metal oxides, the catalyst
reacts at high temperatures to form hydrogen
and carbon dioxide from the methanol fuel.
The hydrogen is then used by the fuel cell
to generate electricity to drive the motor
and the amount of carbon dioxide produced is
much less than with a conventional petrol engine.
Electric cars running on methanol can be fuelled
at filling stations in the same way as traditional
The catalyst is used in the New Electric
Car 5 (NECAR5) is being developed by a consortium
including DaimlerChrysler, Ballard Power Systems
and Ford Motor Company.