3 years ago

Platinum nanoparticle catalysis of methanol for thermoelectric power generation

Bhanuprakash Reddy Guggilla, Alexander Rusted, Smitesh Bakrania

Publication date: 1 March 2019

Source: Applied Energy, Volume 237

Author(s): Bhanuprakash Reddy Guggilla, Alexander Rusted, Smitesh Bakrania


Catalytic combustion of hydrocarbon and oxygenated fuels has the potential to provide an alternative power source for portable electronic devices. Our previous studies have demonstrated sustained catalytic combustion for a variety of fuels using multi-channel cordierite substrates. In particular, methanol-air mixtures catalyzed by platinum nanoparticles yielded room-temperature self-ignition and stable combustion. The present work explores a stacked-reactor design of a microcombustion-thermoelectric coupled device that marries thermal management strategies with catalytic combustion. Synthesized platinum nanoparticles (dp 8 nm) were deposited on rectangular cordierite substrate cartridges with 800 μm wide channels. A custom-designed copper-aluminum reactor was used to host the catalytic cartridges. A near-stoichiometric mixture of methanol-air at 8000 mL/min air flow rate produced 62 °C temperature difference across thermoelectric generators. Material analysis demonstrated a non-uniform restructuring of catalyst material across the substrate. A parametric study of catalyst loading and air flow mapped the optimal operational range of the device. While a relatively low power output of 490 mW was measured, a theoretical power potential of 1400 mW was estimated. The results confirm the unique advantages of multi-channel catalytic cartridges and guide future developments in the application of nanocatalytic microcombustion for portable power sources.

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