Team FAST publicizes formic acid with symposium

It's a nice idea on paper, vehicles powered by formic acid instead of gasoline. An environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative. But if it’s up to the Eindhoven students of Team FAST, cars running on formic acid will become a reality. This is why they are holding a symposium Thursday in the Evoluon, bringing together parties throughout the entire formic acid production chain, such as scientific institutes, transport companies and the builders of gas stations. 

Their aim is admirable, and at the same time highly ambitious: to convince the world of the potential of formic acid as an alternative energy carrier.
Team FAST, a multidisciplinary team of some 30 students at TU/e and Fontys, is itself firmly convinced of formic acid's potential, or as the team calls it: ‘Hydrozine’.

Cheap and easy alternative

What is the idea? The team is using a chemical reaction discovered recently to convert formic acid instantaneously into hydrogen and CO2. Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly fuel, but as a rule it has to be transported in large tanks, under high pressure. Being liquid at room temperature, formic acid provides a cheap and easy alternative for storing hydrogen in vehicles. Moreover, according to the team, it should be possible to drive farther on a tank of formic acid than on a fully charged battery of most electric cars.

From idea to reality

Early last year, as an initial step, the students presented a vehicular scale model, 1 meter in length. In early July they will present their system, which is capable of entirely providing a bus with fuel and can be hitched to the back of the vehicle as a trailer. But the team is keen to do more than just demonstrate the potential. They are actively working to ensure that before long we really will be able to drive vehicles running on formic acid. 

Relevant parties

For these reasons, this coming Thursday they are holding the symposium entitled, Formic Acid: Sustainable Energy Storage by Carbon Capture Utilization. At this event they aim to bring together relevant parties in the production chain and infrastructure, and to present to them the potential and possibilities of formic acid as an energy carrier. Lucas van Cappellen of Team FAST: “It will be an interesting day at which the potential of formic acid as a form of sustainable energy storage and an economically competitive fuel for a broad range of applications will be discussed.”

Speakers

The symposium's speakers include Richard van de Sanden (TU/e professor and director of DIFFER), Martijn de Graaf (Voltachem, working on a reactor to produce formic acid), Ton Schouten (Hamer Nederland, gasoline station builder) and Menno Kleingeld (VDL ETS). 

Practical information

The symposium starts at 13.30 hours and finishes at 17.20 hours with a networking drinks party. The venue is the Evoluon in Eindhoven. Those interested should register via symposium@teamfast.nl