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Technical Briefs

# Design, Fabrication, and Performance Analysis of a Passive Micro-PEM-Fuel-Cell Stack

[+] Author and Article Information
Fang-Bor Weng

Fuel Cells Research Center, Yuan Ze University, 135 Yuan-Tung Road, Chung-Li, Tao Yuan, 320 Taiwan, R.O.C.fangbor@saturn.yzu.edu.tw

Bo-Shian Jou, Pei-Hung Chi, Ay Su, Shih Hung Chan

Fuel Cells Research Center, Yuan Ze University, 135 Yuan-Tung Road, Chung-Li, Tao Yuan, 320 Taiwan, R.O.C.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(3), 034502 (May 11, 2009) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3006343 History: Received June 16, 2007; Revised January 14, 2008; Published May 11, 2009

## Abstract

A micro-fuel-cell stack of six cells with an active area of $2.73 cm2$ and 2.5 W output power has been designed and fabricated in-house. It can go with mini hydrogen storage and provide enough power for portable electric products. Under polarization curve measurement, when the voltage was scanning to low voltage, the performance was quickly decayed by the low fuel concentration. This result was contributed by a limited fuel supply of metal hydride hydrogen tank. The voltage declined to very low voltage in some of the cell stacks when the current output was at high current. This phenomenon is attributed to the self-breath of air in the cathode. At the higher current of 0.9 A condition, the stack voltage was decreased even though the high hydrogen flow rate was increased. The solution to prevent the decrease in voltage is adding the airflow in the cathode. The fuel cell performances respond to the transient of load changes influenced by the hydrogen flow rate and step increase in current. The flow change can decrease the high resistance in the transient of the current output, which prevents membrane electrode assembly (MEA) degradation caused by being operated for many times. After a series of experiments in this study, the micro-fuel-cell system demonstrates the ability of offering a stable power to a cell phone or robot with reliability.

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## Figures

Figure 1

(a) Schematic of the fabricated PEM fuel cell microstack; (b) picture of the microstack under operation

Figure 2

Special design of the bipolar plate: (a) anode side of the bipolar plate and (b) cathode side of the bipolar plate

Figure 3

Effect of the hydrogen flow rate on stack performance; hydrogen flow rates: 28 cc/min, 40 cc/min, and 50 cc/min

Figure 4

Unit cell voltages for microstack at different current densities; hydrogen flow rate: 40 cc/min

Figure 5

Transient load response of change in current density from 0 A (0–10 s) to 0.6 A (11–30 s). (a) Constant of 30 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 0–30 s. (b) Unit cell voltage of operating condition (a). (c) Constant of 30 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 0–10 s; constant of 40 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 11–30 s. (d) Unit cell voltage of operating condition (c).

Figure 6

Transient load response of change in current density from 0 A (0–10 s) to 0.8 A (11–30 s). (a) Constant of 30 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 0–30 s. (b) Unit cell voltage of operating condition (a). (c) Constant of 30 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 0–10 s; constant of 40 cc/min of hydrogen flow rate in 11–30 s. (d) Unit cell voltage of operating condition (c).

Figure 7

(a) Stability of stack voltage and resistance at constant current of 0.8 A and hydrogen flow rate of 40 cc/min. (b) Stability of the unit cell voltage and temperature at constant current of 0.8 A and hydrogen flow rate of 40 cc/min.

Figure 8

Stability of constant current at 0.8 A changes the hydrogen flow rates at 40 cc/min, 30 cc/min, and 25 cc/min

Figure 9

(a) Stability of stack voltage and resistance at constant current 0.9 A change the hydrogen flow rates at 40 cc/min in 0–10 min, 45 cc/min in 10–20 min, 50 cc/min in 20–30 min, and 40 cc/min and apply airflow in 30–45 min. (b) Stability of unit cell voltage and temperature at constant current 0.9 A change the hydrogen flow rates at 40 cc/min, 45 cc/min, 50 cc/min, and 40 cc/min and apply airflow.

Figure 10

The picture of the microstack used on cell phones

Figure 11

The picture of the microstack used on robots

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