Genepax Water Energy System
Genepax : http://www.genepax.co.jp/en/
Jun Onishi [PR Manager]
New Fuel Cell System 'Generates Electricity with Only Water, Air'
Genepax Co Ltd explained the technologies used in its new fuel cell system "Water Energy System (WES)," which uses water as a fuel and does not emit CO2.
The system can generate power just by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes, respectively, the company said at the press conference, which took place June 12, 2008, at the Osaka Assembly Hall.
The basic power generation mechanism of the new system is similar to that of a normal fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as a fuel. According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company's membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.
Though the company did not reveal the details, it "succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA," said Hirasawa Kiyoshi, the company's president. This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. But compared with the existing method, the new process is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time, the company said.
With the new process, the cell needs only water and air, eliminating the need for a hydrogen reformer and high-pressure hydrogen tank. Moreover, the MEA requires no special catalysts, and the required amount of rare metals such as platinum is almost the same as that of existing systems, Genepax said.
Unlike the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which uses methanol as a fuel, the new system does not emit CO2. In addition, it is expected to have a longer life because catalyst degradation (poisoning) caused by CO does not occur on the fuel electrode side. As it has only been slightly more than a year since the company completed the prototype, it plans to collect more data on the product life.
At the conference, Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. In the demonstration, the 120W fuel cell stack was first supplied with water by using a dry-cell battery operated pump. After power was generated, it was operated as a passive system with the pump turned off.
This time, the voltage of the fuel cell stack was 25-30V. Because the stack is composed of 40 cells connected in series, it is expected that the output per cell is 3W or higher, the voltage is about 0.5-0.7V, and the current is about 6-7A. The power density is likely to be not less than 30mW/cm2 because the reaction area of the cell is 10 x 10 cm.
Meanwhile, the 300W fuel cell system is an active system, which supplies water and air with a pump. In the demonstration, Genepax powered the TV and the lighting equipment with a lead-acid battery charged by using the system. In addition, the 300W system was mounted in the luggage room of a compact electric vehicle "Reva" manufactured by Takeoka Mini Car Products Co Ltd, and the vehicle was actually driven by the system.
Genepax initially planned to develop a 500W system, but failed to procure the materials for MEA in time and ended up in making a 300W system.
For the future, the company intends to provide 1kw-class generation systems for use in electric vehicles and houses. Instead of driving electric vehicles with this system alone, the company expects to use it as a generator to charge the secondary battery used in electric vehicles.
Although the production cost is currently about ¥2,000,000 (US$18,522), it can be reduced to ¥500,000 or lower if Genepax succeeds in mass production. The company believes that its fuel cell system can compete with residential solar cell systems if the cost can be reduced to this level.
( Jun 16, 2008 )
Genepax President Interviewed on 'Water Energy System'
( Nikkei Electronics )
Genepax's New Fuel Cell System
Kiyoshi Hirasawa, president of Genepax Co Ltd, unveiled part of the reaction mechanism of the company's new fuel cell system called "Water Energy System" in an interview with Nikkei Electronics.
The system, which is capable of generating power with water and air, was first presented June 12, 2008. As reported in our previous article, the system produces hydrogen through a chemical reaction between water and a metal (or a metal compound) on the fuel electrode side (See related article).
Genepax uses a metal or a metal compound that can cause an oxidation reaction with water at room temperature, the company said. Metals that react with water include lithium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium. The main feature of the Water Energy System is that it can be operated for a longer period of time by controlling the reaction of the metal or the metal compound, the company said.
According to Genepax, the metal or the metal compound is supported by a porous body such as zeolite inside the fuel electrode of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). The products of the hydrogen generation reaction dissolves in water, and the water containing them will be discharged with water inside the system. Upon the completion of the reaction, the generation of hydrogen and power stops.
Considering the commercialization of the system, Genepax is conducting evaluation tests and plans to release test data.
...Genepax demonstrated the car in the Japanese city of Osaka on 12 June 2008. Genepax Claims that one liter (2.1 pints) of any kind of water—rain, river or sea (even tea, stated the press release)—is all that is needed to run the engine for about an hour at a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). However, their claims that a 300 watt (0.4 horsepower) engine could drive the car (the weight of which has not been specified) at this speed and for this duration despite wind resistance / Automobile drag coefficients and other energy-draining forces warrants further investigation.
The demonstration vehicle was a Takeoka Reva, a small electric car whose manufacturer claims a range of 85 km running on its standard set of batteries, which take 8 hours to charge off the mains at 100 V on a 15 A circuit. A charge of up to 12 kWh for a range of 85 km suggests that the micro car draws about 40 times more power than the claimed rating of the fuel cell. This would indicate that during the test drive the fuell cell could have contributed little more than 2% of the power used, the remainder being drawn from the previously charged batteries...
Japanese company Genepax presents its eco-friendly car that runs on nothing but water.
The car has an energy generator that extracts hydrogen from water that is poured into the car's tank. The generator then releases electrons that produce electric power to run the car. Genepax, the company that invented the technology, aims to collaborate with Japanese manufacturers to mass produce it.
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WATER ENERGY SYSTEM
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Abstract --- PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a water energy system generating electric power using pure water as fuel under normal temperature. SOLUTION: The water energy system 1 has a cell in which a fuel electrode 3 and an oxygen electrode 4 are faced with each other through a catalyst 2 same as a general fuel cell. The fuel electrode 3 is formed by carrying platinum on a sintered body of fine powder of zeolite, coral sand, and carbon black, the oxygen electrode 4 is formed by carrying ruthenium on the sintered body of fine powder of zeolite and carbon black. Electric power is generated under normal temperature by supplying pure water 5 to the fuel electrode 3 and air to the oxygen electrode 4.
The present invention relates to water energy system capable of water as a fuel, power generation is performed at room temperature atmosphere.
Various fuel cells have been proposed in the prior art.
Fuel cells are devices that generate electricity by utilizing an electrochemical reaction, depending on the type of material constituting the cell, the material various kinds are used as fuel.
For example, organic materials such as aldehydes and methanol is used.
Here, in a general fuel cell, to be able to supply hydrogen efficiently for the fuel electrode, is reformed through a fuel reformer before being supplied to the fuel electrode directly to the fuel.
As the system for oxidation is supplied to the fuel electrode of the cell to the fuel directly, for example, direct methanol fuel cells are known.
The object of the present invention is that without using a fuel such as methanol, we propose a water energy system capable of performing power generation under normal temperature by using pure water.
In order to solve the above problems, it is opposed disposed sandwiching an electrolyte and oxygen electrode and the fuel electrode, and pure water is supplied to the fuel electrode, supplying oxygen to the oxygen electrode, water energy system of the present invention, the subject to the electrochemical reactions occurring at the oxygen electrode and the fuel electrode causes the output DC power from these poles, as the fuel electrode, the platinum is supported on a sintered body of fine powders of carbon black zeolites, and coral sand and is characterized in that using, as the oxygen electrode, is used in which ruthenium is supported on a sintered body of fine powders of carbon black and zeolites.
According to the experiments of the present inventors, in the water energy system according to the present invention, when supplying pure water directly to the fuel electrode, hydrogen contained therein is oxidized and decomposed efficiently, and a power generating operation efficiently at room temperature under be done has been confirmed.
Therefore, according to the present invention, as conventional, without the use of fuel gases such as methanol, it is possible to realize a fuel cell system capable of performing efficient power generation through a simple mechanism.
The following describes an embodiment of a water energy system with reference to the drawings, the present invention has been applied.
Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of the water energy system according to the present embodiment.
The water energy system 1 is a system that generates power by an electrochemical reaction of the catalyst with water, a basic configuration is the same as that of a general fuel cell.
As shown in the figure, the water energy system 1, is sandwiched between the catalyst 2, the cell of the configuration are oppositely disposed (cathode) fuel electrode 3 oxygen electrode 4 (anode) is a structure which is connected to a large number of series are.
Is shown only one cell in FIG.
The fuel electrode 3, by the catalytic, hydrogen pure water 5 is supplied directly contained therein is electrolysis negative hydrogen ions and electrons.
The catalyst, oxygen air is supplied from the outside to the oxygen electrode and the other four are included therein are generated water by reduction reaction with hydrogen ions.
Through a recovery passage (not shown), water is produced is caused to circulate on the side of the fuel electrode 3.
Oxygen electrode 4 and the fuel electrode 3 is connected to the external load 8 via conductor 6, 7 being drawn from them.
Motor is driven by direct current, an external load 8, and the like lamp.
It is also possible to, or instead of the external load 8, with this, stored in a secondary battery 9, such as electric double layer capacitor, the conductors 6 and 7, is used as capable of supplying AC power source AC via an inverter 10 .
In the present embodiment, as the fuel electrode 3, is used as the platinum is supported on a sintered body of fine powders of carbon black zeolites, and coral sand.
As the oxygen electrode 4, I have used as the ruthenium is supported on a sintered body of fine powders of carbon black and zeolites.
I will explain the power generating operation of water energy system 1 of this configuration.
When supplied to the fuel electrode 3 of pure water 5, hydrogen and oxygen is produced which is electrolyzed, hydrogen splits into negative hydrogen ions and electrons by the electrochemical reaction.
This reaction is an oxidation reaction because hydrogen emit electrons.
Hydrogen ions produced move to the oxygen electrode 4 through the catalyst 2.
There are ion-permeable but electron is not passed, the negative electrons are extracted to the outside via conductor 6 catalyst 2.
Meanwhile, the air has been fed to the oxygen electrode 4, the hydrogen ions that are supplied through the catalyst 2, and the electrons supplied via an external circuit to the reduction reaction, the oxygen contained therein is water are produced.
Generating electricity by it.
Is a schematic diagram of the water energy system according to the present invention.
1 Water energy system
3 fuel electrode
4 oxygen electrode
5 pure water
6 and 7 leads
9 secondary battery
WATER ENERGY SYSTEM
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Inventor: SUEMATSU MITSURU
Applicant: SUEMATSU MITSURU; MAEDA JUNICHIRO
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a compact and simple system capable of electrolyticall decomposing a 10% caustic soda solution to produce oxyhydrogen gas under low pressure, thereby using the oxyhydrogen gas instead of ordinary fuel such as propane gas. ; SOLUTION: The water energy system is composed of: an electrolyzer 1 injected with a caustic soda solution of a prescribed concentration as electrolytic water; a plurality of electrodes arranged on the electrolyzer at prescribed intervals and each having a gas port for gas passage on the upper part; spacers arranged between the plurality of electrodes and forming a prescribed region between each electrode; an electricity control circuit of applying prescribed voltage current; a cooler 2 of cooling produced gas introduced from the gas exhaust port 13 of the plurality of electrodes; a defoaming apparatus 4 where a ceramic catalyst for removing foam coexisting in the cooled produced gas is arranged at the inside; and a water solution mixer 7 of mixing the gas from the defoaming apparatus into water and a prescribed filler. The gas from the mixer is fed to a gas stove 16 or the like, and is burnt.
HYDROGEN GENERATING DEVICE, FUEL CELL AND POWER GENERATION SYSTEM
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a power generation module used for a power generation system in which power generation is carried out under normal temperature by using pure water as fuel. ; SOLUTION: The power generation module 4 of a power generation system is formed by laminating gaskets 43, partition plates 44, and current collector plates 45 at both sides of an electrode assembly 42 as a center, between a pair of clamp plates 41. Pure water is supplied to an anode-side electrode plate 47 from a pure water supply groove provided on the surface of the partition plate through pure water supply holes 41c to 45c from outside of the clamp plate 41, and air taken in from an air intake formed at outer peripheral end surface of the separation plate is supplied to a cathode-side electrode 48 from an air supply groove provided on another surface thereof. A desired power generation capacity can be obtained by adding and connecting in series electrode joint bodies 42 and partition plates 44.
Drive Unit, Hydraulic Working Machine, and Electric Vehicle
The present invention relates to a drive unit that has a low noise level, does not emit exhaust gas, and is suitable for use in a hydraulic backhoe or other construction working machine or other hydraulic working machines, electric vehicles, and the like.
A construction working machine such as a front-end loader for digging holes or the like in residential or other areas is a hydraulic vehicle, and is constructed so that a hydraulic pump of a hydraulic drive mechanism is driven by a gasoline engine or a diesel engine to generate operating hydraulic pressure. Hydraulic working machines are often limited to nighttime use in residential and other areas due to engine noise.
Furthermore, working machines and vehicles driven by gasoline engines or diesel engines emit carbon dioxide. Air pollution from exhaust gas is currently a global issue and is a problem that requires an urgent resolution.
Therefore, it has been suggested that a hydraulic pump be driven using an electric motor in order to address the noise issue and to avoid air pollution from exhaust gas. However, a small-size, high-output power source suitable for mounting on a working machine is not currently available.
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
In view of this situation, an object of the present invention is to provide a drive unit having a built-in small-size, high-output power generator suitable for mounting in a hydraulic working machine, electric vehicle, or other vehicle.
Aimed at attaining the stated object, the drive unit of the present invention is characterized in having:
an electric motor; and
a power generator for supplying electric power to the electric motor;
wherein the power generator is provided with a power generator module, a fuel supply component for supplying liquid fuel for hydrogen generation to the power generator module, and an air supply component for supplying air to the power generator module;
wherein the power generator module is provided with a power generator module structured so that an anode-side electrode plate supplied with the liquid fuel and a cathode-side electrode plate supplied with hydrogen contained in the air are disposed facing each other, an electrolyte membrane being sandwiched between the electrode plates;
wherein the anode-side electrode plate is an electrode plate in which platinum is supported on a sintered body of a microparticulate powder made of zeolite, coral sand, and carbon black; and
wherein the cathode-side electrode plate is an electrode plate in which ruthenium is supported on a sintered body of a microparticulate powder made of zeolite and carbon black.
According to experiments conducted by the present inventors, it has been confirmed that the hydrogen contained in the liquid fuel supplied to the anode-side electrode plate undergoes efficient oxidative decomposition in a power generator module using such electrode plates, ensuring that power can be generated efficiently at normal temperature. It is therefore possible to efficiently generate power by a simple structure without using methanol or other fuel gases as in the past.
The power generator module in the present invention is provided with a pair of collector plates, a plurality of partition plates, and a plurality of electrode assemblies. The electrode assemblies are stacked and bonded structures in which an electrolyte film is sandwiched between the anode-side electrodes and the cathode-side electrodes. The electrode assemblies sandwich the partition plates and are serially connected. The electrode assemblies positioned on both edges sandwich the corresponding partition plates and are connected to the collector plates. Furthermore, each of the partition plates is provided with an anode-side face in which a fuel supply groove is formed, a cathode-side face in which an air supply groove is formed, an external circumferential end face in which an air intake is formed, and a fuel supply port passing in the thickness direction of the corresponding partition plate in an area disposed at a distance from the formation region of the fuel supply groove and the air supply groove. The air intake communicates with the air supply groove via an air duct formed in the interior of the partition plate; and the fuel supply port communicates with the fuel supply groove via a fuel duct formed in the interior of the partition plate. Fuel supply ports passing in the thickness direction in an area that corresponds to the fuel supply ports of the partition plates are formed in the electrode assemblies and the collector plates in a corresponding manner; the partition plates are stacked while disposed opposite the anode-side face in the anode-side electrode plates of the electrode assemblies; and the partition plates are stacked while disposed opposite the cathode-side face in the cathode-side electrode plates.
In this arrangement, the electrode assemblies and the partition plates can be bonded in a liquid-tight state by being stacked with interposed frame gaskets. In this case, each of the frame gaskets may be provided with a fuel supply port passing in the thickness direction of the frame gasket in an area corresponding to the fuel supply port.
Increasing the number of electrode assemblies in the power generator module thus configured allows power generation capacity can be increased in a simple manner.
Next, the hydraulic working machine of the present invention is characterized in having a hydraulic drive mechanism provided with a hydraulic pump, and a drive unit for driving the hydraulic pump, the drive unit having the aforementioned construction being used as the drive unit. A hydraulically driven working machine that has a low noise level and does not emit exhaust gas can be implemented because the hydraulic pump is driven by the electric motor and because a small-size power generator that capable of delivering a high output is used as the power source of the electric motor.
Furthermore, the electric vehicle of the present invention is characterized in being equipped with a drive unit having the aforementioned construction.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram showing a drive unit for the hydraulic pump of a working machine to which the present invention has been applied;
FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram showing the power generator of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a power generator module of the power generator of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view showing the power generator module of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the partition plate of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the flow of liquid fuel; and
FIG. 7 is a diagram showing the principle of generating power in a power generator module.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
Embodiments will now be described with reference to drawings for a case in which the drive unit of the present invention is adopted as a drive unit for a hydraulic working machine.
FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a drive unit for a hydraulic pump. The drive unit 1 of the present example is a unit for driving, for example, the hydraulic pump 100 of a backhoe or other hydraulic construction working machine, and is provided with an electric motor 2, a power generator 3 for supplying power to the electric motor 2, and a battery 4 for storing the electric current generated by the power generator 3. Power is supplied to the electric motor 2 via a capacitor 5. The parts 2, 3, 4, 5 are drivably controlled by a controller 6. The controller 6 is usually constructed as a part of a controller for drivably controlling a working machine on which the drive unit 1 is mounted.
FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram showing the power generator 3. The power generator 3 comprises a power generator module 14, a fuel circulation system 15 for supplying liquid fuel for hydrogen generation to the power generator module 14, a blower 16 for supplying air (oxygen) to the power generator module 14, a cooling fan 17 for cooling the interior of the generator, and an internal power source 18 for driving the blower 16, the cooling fan 17, and the pump of the fuel circulation system 15.
The liquid fuel is a fuel having high hydrogen generation efficiency and can be a product obtained by dissolving 2 to 5 wt % organic material in 95 to 98 wt % purified water. Purified oil of citrus fruits or other plants, fermented alcohol from corn or other grains, or the like may be used as the organic material. A liquid fuel (trade name: Zumie fuel) manufactured and sold by the applicant of the present application is particularly preferred.
The fuel circulation system 15 of the power generator 3 comprises a circulation tank 23, a fuel circulation circuit 24 for circulating the liquid fuel stored in the circulation tank 23 via the power generator module 14, and a circulation pump 25 for circulating the liquid fuel along the fuel circulation circuit 24. Also provided is a main tank 28 capable of supplying liquid fuel through an injection port 27 positioned in a generator housing 26. When the amount of liquid fuel inside the circulation tank 23 is equal to or less than a prescribed amount, a supply pump 29 is driven, and the liquid fuel is replenished from the main tank 28 into the circulation tank 23.
The fuel circulation system 15 is provided with a recovery tank 30, and the liquid fuel recovered along with the air from the power generator module 14 is collected in the recovery tank 30. The liquid fuel collected in the recovery tank 30 is discharged as needed through a water discharge outlet 31 positioned in the generator housing 26. Furthermore, the liquid fuel recovered in the recovery tank 30 can be returned to the circulation tank 23 by a supply pump 32.
The DC current generated by the power generator module 14 is outputted to the internal power source 18 and the battery 4 via a rectifier 33. A startup switch 34 is positioned in a circuit for supplying power to the battery 4, and when the startup switch 34 is switched on, power is supplied from the internal power source 18 to the pumps 25, 29, 32, the blower 16, and the cooling fan 17 via a relay 35, and an operation is started in which these components are driven. Supply of generated current to the battery 4 is started after the power generation of the power generator module 14 is stabilized.
(Power Generation Module)
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the power generation module 14, FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the power generation module 14, FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the partition plate, and FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing the flow of a liquid fuel. The power generation module 14 is provided with the pair of collection plates 45, a plurality of partition plates 44, and a plurality of electrode assemblies 42. The electrode assembly 42 has a configuration in which an anode-side electrode plate 47 and a cathode-side electrode plate 48 are stacked and bonded, sandwiching an electrolyte film 46. The anode-side electrode plate 47 is a rectangular-shaped electrode plate disposed inside the interior frame of a rectangular-shaped gasket 47a, the cathode-side electrode plate 48 also is a rectangular-shaped electrode plate disposed inside the interior frame of a rectangular-shaped gasket 48a.
The plurality of electrode assemblies 42 of this configuration are sandwiched by the partition plates 44 and connected in series. The electrode assemblies (not shown) that are placed at both ends are sandwiched by partition plates 44, respectively, and are connected to the collection plates 45. The rectangular frame-shaped gasket 43 is sandwiched between the electrode assembly 42 and the partition plates 44 on two sides, respectively, and a fluid-tight state is formed therebetween. The configuration of these parts will be described in detail below.
First, the anode-side electrode plate 47 of the electrode assembly 42 is an electrode plate in which platinum is supported on a sintered compact of particulate powder composed of zeolite, coral sand, and carbon black. The other cathode-side electrode plate 48 is an electrode plate in which ruthenium is supported on a sintered compact of particulate powder composed of zeolite, and carbon black.
Positioning holes 41a, 42a, 43a, 44a pass through and extend in the thickness direction of the fastening plate 41, the electrode assembly 42, the gaskets 43, the partition plates 44, and the collection plates 45 in a pair of corner portions in the diagonal direction of these components. Positioning pins that are not shown are passed through these positioning holes 41a through 44a, and these components are stacked in an aligned state. A plurality of boltholes 41b are formed in the fastening plates 41, and the components are integrated in a stacked state by fastening bolts 49 that are passed through the boltholes.
A pair of liquid-fuel supply ports 41c, 42c, 43c, 44c, 45c that pass through and extend in the thickness direction of one of the fastening plates 41, the electrode assembly 42, the gaskets 43, the partition plates 44, and the collection plates 45 is formed in the other pair of corner portions in the diagonal direction of these components. The liquid fuel is supplied, e.g., via a liquid-fuel supply conduit 50 connected to the liquid-fuel supply ports 41c on an upper side in the exterior surface of one of the fastening plates 41, and is discharged via a liquid-fuel supply conduit 50 connected to the liquid-fuel supply ports 41c on a lower side.
The collection plates 45 have a shape in which a terminal plate region 45d extends upward in a fixed width from one end of an upper end surface of the rectangular main plate member. In the present example, two collection plates 45 have the same shape, and are disposed with opposite orientations.
Next, the configuration of the partition plates 44 will be described with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6. One surface of the partition plate 44 is used as the anode-side surface 51, and in this case, liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 having a constant depth extending in a parallel manner at fixed intervals in which the two ends are in communication are carved inside the exterior peripheral rectangular frame portion having a constant width. The other surface of the partition plate 44 is the cathode-side surface 53, and in this case, air supply grooves 54 having a constant depth formed in a grid shape are formed inside of the exterior peripheral rectangular frame portion having the same constant width.
The same number of air inlet ports 59 is formed in each of the four peripheral end surfaces 55 through 58 of the partition plates 44, and the air inlet ports 59 are in communication with the air supply grooves 54 via air passages 60 formed inside the partition plate. Therefore, outside air is supplied to the air supply grooves 54 of the partition plates 44 via the air inlet ports 59. The air supplied to the air supply grooves 54 of the cathode-side surface 53 of the cathode-side partition plate 44 is supplied to the cathode-side electrode plate 48 of the electrode junction body 42 facing air supply grooves.
The pair of liquid-fuel supply ports 44c that are formed in the partition plate 44 are in communication with the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 via liquid-fuel passages 61 that are formed inside the partition plate. Therefore, the liquid fuel that is supplied from the liquid-fuel supply conduit 50 of the fastening plate 41 passes through the liquid-fuel supply ports 41c, 45c, 43c, flows into the liquid-fuel supply ports 44c of the partition plate 44, and from here, passes through the liquid-fuel passages 62 inside the partition plate and is supplied to the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52. The electrode junction body 42 is stacked in a fluid-tight state via the gasket 43 on the anode-side surface 51 of the partition plate 44 on which the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 are formed. Therefore, the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 are in an airtight state, and liquid fuel is supplied to the anode-side electrode plate 47 of the electrode junction body 42 without leaking to the outside.
At this point, the liquid fuel passes through the liquid-fuel supply ports 44c, 43c, 42c, 43c that are formed in the partition plate 44, the gasket 43, the electrode assembly 42, and the other gasket 43; and is supplied to the liquid-fuel supply port 44c of the next partition plate 44, as shown in FIG. 6. From here, the liquid fuel passes into the internal liquid-fuel passage 61, and is supplied to the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 of the partition plate 44. The liquid fuel that flows down to the liquid-fuel supply grooves 52 of the partition plate 44 passes through the internal liquid-fuel passage 61, is discharged to the other liquid-fuel supply port 44c, passes therefrom through the liquid-fuel supply ports 43c, 42c, 43c, 44c, and is discharged to the exterior.
In a power generation module 14 of this configuration, the number of electrode assemblies 42 sandwiched between partition plates 44 and gaskets 43 and connected in series may be increased, whereby power-generating capacity can be readily increased.
The power generation module 14 generates power by an electrochemical reaction between a liquid fuel and a catalyst, and is substantially equivalent to an ordinary fuel cell. In other words, when liquid fuel is supplied to the anode-side electrode plate 47 (the fuel electrode), the fuel is electrolyzed and hydrogen and oxygen are produced, the hydrogen is divided into hydrogen ions and negative electrons by an electrochemical reaction, as shown in FIG. 7. Since hydrogen releases an electron in the reaction, the reaction is an oxidizing reaction. The generated hydrogen ions pass through the electrolyte film 46 (catalyst) of the electrode assembly 42 and migrate to the cathode-side electrode plate 48 (oxygen electrode). The electrolyte film 46 is permeable to ions but blocks electrons, and the negative electrons are therefore removed to the exterior via the collection plate 45 of the anode side. On the other hand, air is fed into the cathode-side electrode plate 48 (oxygen electrode). Therefore, the hydrogen ions supplied along the electrolyte film 46 and electrons supplied from the exterior via the collection plate 45 undergo a reductive reaction, and water is produced. Power is produced thereby. The produced water is recovered together with air in the recovery tank 30 (see FIG. 2).
The drive unit 1 of the present embodiment as constituted above is assembled in a hydraulic working machine so as to drive the hydraulic pump thereof, whereby realizing a low noise working machine. Such a working machine is suited for use in construction work during midnight at a residential or other place, and is also suited for use in work inside a place such as a house, a tunnel or the like where ventilation is insufficient.
The drive unit of the present invention can be used as that for driving the electric motor of an electric vehicle. In this case, the drive unit may have the same structure as that shown in FIG. 1, and the output of the electric motor 2 is transferred to a power transmission mechanism that transfers the power to the drive shaft of the drive wheels of the electric vehicle.
As mentioned above, the drive unit according to the present invention is able to use the power generator that has high power-generation efficiency, is small and has high power output in comparison with the conventional fuel batteries, and to drive an electric motor for driving a hydraulic pump, an electric vehicle and other machines. Hence, it is possible to realize a drive unit that is suited for use in the hydraulic pump and that has a low noise level and does not emit exhaust gas. It is also possible to realize a drive unit suited in use for driving the electric motor.
SEPARATOR OF LIQUID FUEL TYPE FUEL CELL