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TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

# How Far Are Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells From Our Energy Future?

[+] Author and Article Information
Shuqin Song, Vasiliki Maragou

Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Thessaly, Pedion Areos, 383 34, Greece

Panagiotis Tsiakaras1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Thessaly, Pedion Areos, 383 34, Greecetsiak@mie.uth.gr

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 4(2), 203-209 (Jun 28, 2006) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2393312 History: Received November 30, 2005; Revised June 28, 2006

## Abstract

Direct alcohol fuel cells (DAFCs) have been attracting more and more attention and interest during the last decade due to their simplicity, the easy handle and the high power density of the liquid alcohol fuels. However, along with DAFCs’ development several problems related to their performance optimizations have arisen that are well established and researches are already in progress for their solutions. These problems are responsible for the short lifetime and low cell performance and can be summarized as follows: (a) low alcohol electro-oxidation kinetics, (b) alcohol crossover, and (c) electrode delamination. This article briefly reviews DAFCs’ state of the art, the pertinent work done for the localization and quantification of the above-mentioned problems and the work aiming at the identification and use of novel materials which could catalyze the rate-determining step for the DAFCs’ development and further commercialization. Furthermore, taking into account that fuel choice is still a disputed issue, the alcohols suitable as potential fuels for DAFCs are also summarized and compared.

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## Figures

Figure 1

Exergy efficiency comparison between DAFC and alcohol external reforming PEMFC (1)

Figure 2

Schematic principle of a direct alcohol fuel cell

Figure 3

Specific mass and volume energy density of the selective fuels (2,17)

Figure 4

The performance of single direct alcohol fuel cells with PtRu∕C as anode catalysts at 145°C (a) (26) and 90°C (b) (11). The detailed conditions are show in Table 2.

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