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Performance modeling and cell design for high concentration methanol fuel cells

Advances in Electrocatalysis, Materials, Diagnostics and Durability

Advanced diagnostics, models and design

Low-temperature fuel cells

  1. C. E. Shaffer,
  2. C. Y. Wang

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f500050

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Shaffer, C. E. and Wang, C. Y. 2010. Performance modeling and cell design for high concentration methanol fuel cells. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

Abstract

For direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) to compete with and replace lithium-ion batteries as power sources for mobile devices, they must be designed to increase their energy density. One major hurdle in accomplishing this task is being able to use high concentration methanol fuel, thereby reducing the size of the fuel tank and the amount of water carried as part of the system (water is a reactant in methanol oxidation). Much effort has been made to reduce the methanol crossover from anode to cathode, but there has been relatively less awareness of water transport and its importance in enabling the use of high concentration methanol fuel. In this article, we review the scientific principles and state-of-the-art technology for high concentration methanol fuel cells (HC-MFCs). We demonstrate a direct link between water crossover through the membrane and the allowable methanol concentration in the fuel through intuitive examples and pertinent case studies, and further review current means by which water loss to the cathode side of a DMFC is reduced. Future HC-MFC designs are expected to include the continued progress in membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) that use unique porous layer properties to simultaneously reduce methanol crossover and enhance water backflow from cathode to anode, as well as development of membrane materials with increased resistance to methanol transport and simultaneous increased diffusivity of water.

Keywords:

  • DMFC;
  • HC-MFC;
  • water management;
  • methanol crossover;
  • high concentration methanol