For this blog we have the pleasure to introducing Lotte Pleging, student Sustainable Innovation at the Eindhoven University of Technology and member of Team FAST. Team FAST is an enthusiastic, multidisciplinary student team of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and they have taken up the challenge of introducing a revolutionary sustainable fuel called Hydrozine.
Let’s find out why Team FAST believes in Hydrozine (HCOOH) as a suitable candidate to replace fossil fuels and what the role of the Bronkhorst thermal mass flow meters is in the process of generating this renewable fuel.
What is the objective of Team FAST?
Lotte Pleging explains: “Our goal is to prove to the world that Hydrozine is a suitable candidate to replace fossil fuels, in applications like buses or generators. In total 28 students are working in different autonomous sub-teams to realize this goal. The different teams vary from marketing to a team focused solely on getting the fuel cell functioning.”
Why did you start this initiative?
“Team FAST originates from a group of students who participated in a project where they researched the possibility of storing sustainable power in a liquid and succeeded to find formic acid as a viable solution.
Formic acid was chosen, as our professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) discovered a catalyst which could split formic acid into the gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) faster and more efficiently. After the development of a small prototype in September 2015, called Pico, it was decided to do more research and to continue as a student team, consisting of only students from the TU/e. In January 2016 ‘Junior’ was created, an upscale of 42x the gas production and in July 2017 our ‘REX’ system was presented, an upscale of 42.000x compared to ‘Pico’.
Why did you choose Hydrozine?
“Hydrozine is defined as sustainably produced formic acid. In our ‘REX’ system, a catalyst and Hydrozine are combined in the reformer, which results in the gas production of hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The hydrogen will, in turn, power our fuel cell.
The system will exhaust the CO2 which is a result of the chemical reaction in the reformer. But since our partner, Coval Energy, uses CO2 in order to produce Hydrozine, the process is carbon neutral. Coval is working on creating the first 1 Megawatt power plant producing Hydrozine.
In the last years big steps have been made. We have been exhibiting at the Hannover Messe twice and once at the Frankfurt IAA (the International Motor Show in Germany). Our technology is an easy way of using hydrogen. This shows great promise for the heavy transport sector and this is what we presented on the Frankfurt IAA. Besides this, we recently joined an accelerator program, called KIC InnoEnergy, where we are still competing for €75,000.”
Where do flow meters come in the picture?
“This may sound as quite a simple system, but there is much more to it! For example, our system includes Bronkhorst flow meters. These are of high quality and enable us to accurately measure our gas production, which we could not before.
In our project it is very important to know how much gas is being produced. Knowing the gas flow gives information about how quickly gas is being converted by our system and thus information about the amount of power we will be able to deliver. This also allows us to play with the different parameters in our system to improve the efficiency.
Bronkhorst is the only supplier with the expertise on our kind of gas production, and they were able to provide us with the right parts and great support. Without them we were not able to test the system. So great thanks to them, for enabling our testing process during the summer! “
Read more about this application in our application note ‘Flow control in formic acid production’
You are also working together with the Royal BAM Group?
“In the past, Team FAST mainly focused on the transport sector. But lately a shift is taking place. As the business model is still under development it is not possible yet to know for sure which market is going to be the best for our technology.
Right now, besides developing the business model for all sectors, we are working together with the Royal BAM Group, a major European construction firm, who are interested in applying our system as a generator on building sites.
Nowadays it is important to be sustainable if you would like to obtain construction contracts. This is why our technology could prove an immediate advantage for BAM in winning tenders. As of the first of February (2018), our system will be used as an energy supplier for the BAM site accommodation on the N211 road to The Hague (NL).”
Where can we find Team FAST?
“To wrap up, we can say we have made a lot of progress lately. A lot of testing was done and multiple applications for our system are being explored! Are you interested in the progress we are making, or interested in collaborating? Let us know! “