High Performance Low temperature Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell (DEFC)

Lead Participant: Johnson Matthey Plc


This project fits into the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies program with the aim of supporting the deployment of portable fuel cells through efficient use of bio-derived ethanol fuels. Direct ethanol fuel cells, DEFCs, could replace current direct methanol systems, DMFCs, as a 2nd generation technology and allow cost reductions and thus greater penetration of fuel cells into the consumer electronics market. Ethanol is the ideal fuel for portable applications as it is readily available via renewable feedstocks (e.g. sugar, starch and cellulose) as well as being much less toxic and having higher energy density compared to methanol. The key innovative goal of the project, therefore, is the development of anode catalysts capable of full oxidation of ethanol to carbon dioxide with the release of 12 electrons per molecule. If the project is successful in achieving this for ethanol then the direct use of a range of other bio-derived alcohols such as butanol and glycerol in low temperature fuel cells may well also be possible. This would greatly increase the efficiency of bio-derived fuels in power generation.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Johnson Matthey Plc, LONDON £788,185 £ 354,683


Queen's University of Belfast Foundation -The, Belfast £606,491


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