The hydrogen and
fuel cell center

MethaCycle - Fuel cell system at the end of the active cycle

The volatility of renewable energy is a major challenge in the implementation of the energy transition. One approach to decoupling supply and demand in the Metha-Cycle research project is the use of hydrogen stored in methanol.

Coupled fuel cell system (ZBT) and hydrogen generator at FAU Erlangen

Operational results

system setup

01.10.2016 bis 31.03.2020

Hydrogen produced electrolytically with wind, solar or hydro power is converted into methanol with the addition of CO2 using a catalytic process developed by several research teams. The methanol can then be transported, stored and handled using existing infrastructure. H2 is also recovered from methanol by catalytic means.

The subsequent conversion to electricity takes place in an HTPEM fuel cell system developed by ZBT. ZBT was responsible for the selection of the appropriate fuel cell type depending on the quality of the H2-rich product gas, the development of the fuel cell system with novel waste heat integration, the thermal integration of the FC system into the H2 generation process of the project partners and operation of the integrated system at the project partner FAU in Erlangen. The closed methanol cycle developed in the overall consortium could thus be fully mapped.

The FC system developed specifically for the project fulfilled the following technical boundary conditions:

Fuel cell stack and system technology (ZBT)

  • Number of cells: 6
  • Bipolar plates:  ZBT, graphitic
  • Active area: 50 cm2
  • MEA: BASF Celtec 1200 W
  • Cooling system: encapsulated
  • Cooling medium: Fragoltherm S15 A

Operating data in coupled operation

  • Operating voltage: 3 V
  • Current: 13 A (system), 25 A (single operation)
  • Electrical power: 39 W (system), 65 W (individual operation)
  • Operating pressure: atmospheric
  • Operating temperature: 160°C
  • Coolant flow: approx. 180ml/min

Further information:

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