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RESEARCH PAPERS

Development of High Performance Micro DMFCS and a DMFC Stack

[+] Author and Article Information
G. Q. Lu

Electrochemical Engine Center (ECEC) and Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802gul2@psu.edu

C. Y. Wang1

Electrochemical Engine Center (ECEC) and Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802cxw31@psu.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(2), 131-136 (Nov 30, 2005) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2173668 History: Received July 18, 2005; Revised November 30, 2005

A silicon-based micro direct methanol fuel cell (μDMFC) for portable applications has been fabricated and its electrochemical characterization carried out. A membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) was specially fabricated to mitigate methanol crossover. The cell with active area of 1.625cm2 demonstrated a maximum power density of 50mWcm2 at 60°C. Since the silicon wafer is too fragile to compress for sealing, and a thicker layer of gold has to be coated on the silicon wafer to reduce contact resistance, further development of micro DMFCs for high power application was carried out using stainless steel as bipolar plate in which flow channels were fabricated by photochemical etching technology. The maximum power density of the micro DMFC reaches 62.5mWcm2 at 40°C and 100mWcm2 at 60°C with atmospheric pressure. An 8-cell air-breathing DMFC stack has been developed. Mass transport phenomena such as water transport and oxygen transport were investigated. By using a water management technique, cathode flooding was avoided in our air-breathing DMFC stack. Furthermore, it was found that oxygen transport in the air-breathing cathode is still very efficient. The DMFC stack produced a maximum output power of 1.33W at 2.21V at room temperature, corresponding to a power density of 33.3mWcm2. A passive DMFC using pure methanol was demonstrated with steady-state output power of 2025mWcm2 over more than 10h without heat management.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Picture of Si-plate with flow channels

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Figure 2

Performance of Si-based micro DMFC

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Figure 3

Performance of SS-based micro DMFC at room temperature and 40°C

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Figure 4

Performance of SS-based micro DMFC at 60°C

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Figure 5

Polarization curves of an air-breathing DMFC at different temperatures

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Figure 6

Power density curves of the air-breathing DMFC at different operating temperatures

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Figure 7

Flooding at the GDL surface at room temperature

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Figure 8

Durability of cell performance

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Figure 9

A picture showing the 8-cell air-breathing DMFC stack

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Figure 10

Parallel flow paths for 8 individual cells

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Figure 11

Polarization curve of cell #1 in the stack

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Figure 12

Polarization curve of cell #1 using humidified hydrogen in the anode

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Figure 13

Distribution of crossover rate at OCV

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Figure 14

Polarization curve for the 8-cell air-breathing DMFC stack

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Figure 15

Variation of voltage with time using pure methanol in a passive DMFC

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