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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D023246/1
Title: A Feasibility Study into the Formic Acid Economy
Principal Investigator: Rayner, Professor CM
Other Investigators:
Tsang, Professor S Hall, Professor PJ Davidson, Professor MG
Davis, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Huntsman ICI Chemicals
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 17 October 2005 Ends: 16 December 2006 Value (£): 72,296
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Environment
Energy
Related Grants:
EP/D023335/1 EP/D023238/1 EP/D022754/1 EP/D023653/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The provision of clean renewable energy is one of the most pressing problems that society faces. It is now generally accepted that fossil fuel combustion is the main cause of global warming through the green house effect. Further restrictions on the use of fossil fuels come from declining global resources of oil and in the UK of natural gas. The main challenge for scientists and engineers therefore is to produce enough energy to run an industrial economy without the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. Attention has been paid to looking at hydrogen containing chemicals such as methanol, which can also be used to power fuel cells directly. The trouble with methanol as a de facto method of storing hydrogen is that it is produced from synthesis gas, which limits its production method to either biomass or fossil fuel gasification.The objective of the current proposal is to test the feasibility of another possible chemical method for storing hydrogen, formic acid (FA). This possibility has a number of advantages. Primarily, it can be produced from CO2 and hydrogen. This means that all of the carbon free or carbon neutral hydrogen production methods can be used. The sources of CO2 could be from the exhaust gases from fossil fuel or biomass combustion, natural geological sources, brewing, ammonia synthesis, or directly from the atmosphere itself in passive systems, which require no further CO2 concentration. FA can be used as a fuel for fuel cells as well as a base feedstock for the production of polymers and other chemicals. As regards the production of polymers, this work impacts the CO2 debate because polymer production represents genuine sequestration of CO2, as opposed to geological disposal, which the IPCC consider to be merely CO2 storage.
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk