Partnering opportunity

Use of magnesium in electrochemical generators

Summary

An Armenian company engaged in fabrication of fuel cells has developed a new technology of metallic magnesium powder production and proposed the combined use of magnesium-air and hydrogen fuel cells resulting in additional electricity production. Partners are sought for improving the product for further commercial use. The company is looking for commercial agreement with technical assistance, technical cooperation agreement, research cooperation agreement or manufacturing agreement.

Partner sought

R&D companies, research centers active in development of fuel cells energy systems willing to cooperate in order to optimize the offered technology for further commercial use/manufacturing under commercial agreement with technical assistance, technical cooperation agreement and /or research cooperation agreement. Industrial partners, fuel cell manufacturers for finalization of the technology and setting up large scale manufacturing of the product under manufacturing agreement.

Description

An Armenian company has focused its research activities on developing high efficiency and low cost system of Mg-air (magnesium-air) fuel cells in combination with hydrogen fuel cells by using less energy technology of production metallic magnesium powder. Today much attention is paid to electrochemical power sources (supercapacitors, fuel cells, primary and secondary batteries) as perspective and safe power sources. The hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells are considered as prospective electrochemical power sources and many companies and research institutes are working on development and improvement of these cells. However, hydrogen fuel cells have some disadvantages that suppress their wide introduction in practice. There are still expensive due to high cost of materials used in PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells, besides hydrogen is expensive and dangerous gas which needs heavy cylinders for storage. Also biggest technological obstacle is necessity to have hydrogen tanks on board. Hydrogen is highly volatile gas that is hard to store, transport, and use safely. There is another type of fuel cells where metals (Zn, Fe, Al, Mg) are used instead of hydrogen as an electron source. Magnesium – air fuel cells operate in salt water at room temperature. Mg is environmentally sound metal and safe in air at room temperature herewith also exhibits high electrochemical capacity: 2.3Ah/g. Spent Mg anode can be quickly replaced by new one. The company proposes efficient technology of production of metallic magnesium from aqueous magnesium chloride. Waste reaction product – Mg(OH)2, can be easily recycled to Mg by proposed method without high energy expenses. Electrochemical energy conversion based on metal-air systems is of great practical importance since oxygen in the air is used directly and there is no need to store or transport active material for the battery cathode. The use of metal-air fuel cells is well established in practice in the form of wet zinc-air primary cells which have been employed for several decades for portable devices. However, zinc metal has some disadvantages, such as environmental pollution, caused by the toxic zinc and mercury (ingressed in zinc anode), relative fast depletion of world resources of zinc, low specific energy characteristics. The best long-term alternative to zinc, as the anode in metal-air cells, is magnesium. The company is looking for partners who would help to finalize the development of the technology up to commercial prototype for further commercial use/manufacturing under commercial agreement with technical assistance, technical cooperation agreement and /or research cooperation agreement. It also seeks partners who would help with the finalization of the technology and set up large scale manufacturing of the product under manufacturing agreement.

Advantages and innovations

The prototype of advanced mechanically rechargeable magnesium–air fuel cell (or salt water battery) as the best long-term alternative to zinc, as the anode in metal-air cells, and its components as a source of electricity and hydrogen exhibits some distinct advantages: (a) Resources: magnesium, produced from magnesia, is available in unlimited quantities and can be obtained by extraction from sea water and rock minerals, also Mg could be regenerated during operation process. (b) Environmentally compatibility: the magnesium compounds are non-toxic and pose no pollution problems. (c) Process of reactive metals production from aqueous salt solutions consumes essentially less energy which is very important for metallurgy. (d) Wide temperature interval of operation in the cell (-30 – +60 oC). (e) An efficient synergistic method is the use the system of Mg-air fuel cell in combination with hydrogen fuel cell. In this case produced electricity can be used in reserve or emergency power sources, electric cars, scooters, sea transport, etc. Produced hydrogen will be used in hydrogen fuel cell and can be generated on demand, no need in heavy balloons, and can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines and hydrogen resulting in additional electricity production.

Development stage

Under development/lab tested

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted


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