- By mantradev
December 2, 2013
BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Dec. 2, 2013) – Mantra Venture Group Ltd. (OTCQB:MVTG) and its subsidiary, Mantra Energy Alternatives Ltd., have announced recent promising experimental advances in developing an innovative platinum- and membrane-free mixed-reactant fuel cell (MRFC) architecture called the “Swiss-roll MRFC”. The novel Swiss-roll MRFC (licensed exclusively by Mantra Energy Alternatives Ltd.) has been extensively developed in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of the University of British Columbia (UBC), in the Fuel Cells and Applied Electrochemistry Laboratory of Professors Elod Gyenge and Colin Oloman. The development of the Swiss-roll MRFC has been fully supported by UBC, the Clean Energy Research Center and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Discovery and Discovery Accelerator programs.
The main feature of the Swiss-roll MRFC design is that there is no need for expensive platinum-based electrocatalysts. This novel design also eliminates the need for expensive and failure-prone polymer electrolyte membranes (PEM) and heavy, bulky bipolar plates. As a result, the Swiss-roll MRFC stack could significantly reduce the cost and increase the durability of the direct liquid fuel cell systems, while providing a high volumetric power density.
Development of this novel Swiss-roll architecture at UBC has resulted in significant engineering improvements and potential cost reductions of fuel cells for direct liquid/air systems, such as formate/formic acid, borohydride, and hydrazine. This may open new avenues for commercialization of fuel cell systems for various applications.
The Swiss-roll design has sparked interest in the scientific and industrial community and Mantra aims to continue research and product development of the Swiss-roll MRFC for various applications, such as energy storage units and emergency back-up power systems, with its international partners in academia and industry.
“Development of this novel platinum- and membrane-free Swiss-roll mixed-reactant fuel cell was beyond our expectations. The performance of the Swiss-roll MRFC matches the highest power densities of conventional systems with platinum-based catalysts and polymer membranes. This improved performance and cost reduction of fuel cell systems may open new avenues toward commercialization of low cost fuel cell units for different applications: from small portable applications to large-scale stationary energy storage systems. Most importantly, the elimination of polymer membranes may significantly improve the performance and stability of many fuel cell chemistries such as direct hydrazine/air fuel cells. Mantra is currently investigating the adoption of this innovative MRFC for formic acid, formate, and direct hydrazine/air systems in its R&D facility in Burnaby, Canada,” says Amin Aziznia, Mantra’s senior electrochemical engineer.
Mantra’s CTO, Patrick Dodd, further commented, “A low cost mixed-reactant fuel cell system is an important step toward Mantra’s successful business case for CO2 electroredution to fuels. We are currently exploring the integration of Mantra’s electrochemical reduction (ERC) technology for CO2 reduction to formic acid/formate with the MRFC. The implication of the Swiss-roll MRFC for energy storage applications is currently being explored within our R&D team and with our international collaborators.”
ERC, or the “Electro-Reduction of Carbon Dioxide”, is a form of “carbon capture and utilization” that converts the pollutant carbon dioxide into useful, valuable products including formic acid and formate salts. By utilizing clean electricity, the process offers the potential for an industrial plant to reduce emissions while generating a salable product and a profit.
In a conventional fuel cell, the fuel and oxidant flow in separate streams, kept apart by an ion-conducting membrane that divides the cell into discreet anode and cathode chambers. The single-cells are electrically in series using bipolar flow-field plates that provide most of the stack weight and volume.
By comparison to the conventional fuel cell, in a mixed-reactant fuel cell, or “MRFC”, a mixture of fuel and oxidant flows through the cell as a single stream. The mixed-feed concept allows for a variety of conventional and unconventional cell stack designs including the Mantra’s patented Swiss-roll MRFC.
Simplification of MRFC systems is possible because they can operate without the gastight structures within the stack that are required for sealing, manifolding, and separating reactant delivery in conventional fuel cells. Corresponding simplifications may also be realized in the balance of plant. As a result, MRFCs could potentially provide relatively low cost fuel cell systems with high volumetric power density.
For further information on Mantra’s technologies, please visit:
Also see the following patent and scholarly publications:
1. “Mixed-Reactant Flow-By Fuel Cell” (2012)
Colin W. Oloman British Patent GB 2474202, 2012.
2. “A Swiss-Roll-Liquid-Gas Mixed-Reactant Fuel Cell” (2012):
Journal of Power Sources, Volume 212, Pages 154-160, 15 August 2012
3. “Platinum- and Membrane-Free Swiss-Roll Mixed-Reactant Alkaline Fuel Cell” (2013):
ChemSusChem, Volume 6, Issue 5, pages 847-855, May 2013
4. “Borohydride-tolerant Oxygen Electroreduction Catalyst for Mixed-Reactant Swiss-Roll Direct Borohydride Fuel Cells” (2013)
Journal of Materials Chemistry A Volume 1Issue 45, pages 14384-14391 (November 2013)
About Mantra Energy Alternatives
Mantra Energy Alternatives Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mantra Venture Group Ltd., aims to become a world leader in the production of high-value, carbon-negative chemicals and fuels. Mantra is currently developing the ERC process, which will initially produce formic acid and formate salts from carbon dioxide, and will eventually be capable of generating a wide variety of products. The company seeks to simultaneously reduce anthropogenic carbon emissions, which total over 30 billion tonnes each year from fuel combustion alone, and generate value.
Mantra Venture Group is a public company quoted on the OTC QB under the symbol MVTG.
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For more information go to: http://www.mantraventuregroup.com
Forward-looking statements: Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements and are subject to risks and uncertainties. See Mantra Venture Group’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which identify specific factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements.