Formic acid is formed by the reaction between hydrogen and carbon dioxide under the influence of sunlight and a catalyst. It Is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in some ants.
Team Fast (Formic Acid Sustainable Transportation) is a group of 23 students from the Technical University (TU) of Eindhoven, out to find a sustainable and easily available replacement for the fossil fuels. The Team has set out to achieve the task of making a car and eventually an actual family car, all fueled by formic acid. Until now the team has successfully test run a model car on the Formic acid but now they aim to build a full size 3D printed vehicle, also powered by the naturally occurring substance.
Tim van Lohuizen, PR & Marketing at Team FAST said that “By now it has become quite clear that the world needs to be sustainable. We as Team FAST want to make our own contribution to that.”
The car thus made by Team Fast would be completely environment friendly with Zero emission, as the car would potentially run on Hydrogen. Formic Acid here is actually just used, and not consumed. The Formic acid which is a naturally available substance was chosen as a hydrogen carrier as it is an extremely high energy density, much greater than batteries and highly pressurized hydrogen tanks. If this is it is used in cars it could make a car run for as much as 500 Kilometers on a full tank.
As we informed earlier Formic Acidis naturally occurring substance it is found in abundance in nature and is also found as a bi product in wind farms and solar panels. Team Fast informed the press that they plan to use Formic Acid as a hydrogen carrier as it can be decomposed into hydrogen on demand and power the fuel cells inside the car. When decomposed the Formic acid hydrogen and carbon dioxide out of which the hydrogen is purified and used by the fuel cells. The whole process depends on a catalyst that was developed by Dr. G. Filonenko at the university.
Team FAST member Max Wentzel spoke to the members of the press and said “3D printing allows us to speed up the prototyping cycle significantly. Lots of parts are unique and have to be specifically designed. The fact that we can do that right inside our office is simply amazing.”
The team recently received an Ultimaker 3d printer from the manufacturers as they were pretty impressed with their work. Marcella van den Burg, education chief at Ultimaker said “This project is amazing! Young entrepreneurial students that want to shake the (fuel) establishment are initiatives Ultimaker wants to support. The way these guys use 3D printing as tool really shows the possibilities of 3D printing. And of course we hope they will remember us when they hit it big with their idea.”
The work done by Team FAST is already being hailed as a break through and is being admired by many notable scientists. They received a €50,000 grant at the Open Mind conference in November 2015 which would be used to make a A functional scale model which would be unveiled by Team FAST on January 14th 2016, and the full size prototype would follow.