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Research Papers

Performance Analysis of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Stack With Bipolar Plate Incorporated With Innovative Flow-Field Combination

[+] Author and Article Information
Chia-Chieh Shen, Feng-Bor Weng, Chia-Chen Yeh, Chih-Hung Lee, Yi-Ju Su

Fuel Cell Center,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Yuan Ze University,
Taoyuan 320, Taiwan

Guo-Bin Jung

Fuel Cell Center,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Yuan Ze University,
Taoyuan 320, Taiwan
e-mail: guobin@saturn.yzu.edu.tw

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 31, 2012; final manuscript received December 2, 2013; published online February 11, 2014. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(3), 031008 (Feb 11, 2014) (6 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1086; doi: 10.1115/1.4026523 History: Received August 31, 2012; Revised December 02, 2013

Increasing interest in utilizing direct methanol fuel cells for portable applications has prompted the need for understanding of their operating characteristics. Approximately 80% of a direct methanol fuel cell stack's volume and weight arise from the bipolar plates. The bipolar plates have grooved anode and cathode flow fields, and have a critical influence on the cell stack performance and stability. However, there is little published data regarding design expansion from single cell to stack, and literature regarding the fuel/oxidant distribution in each cell is especially scant. Hence, this topic is the subject of the present study, which reports the design of a complete direct methanol fuel cell consisting of five single cells including a graphite bipolar plate, as well as an innovative anode and cathode flow channel design. By observing variations in operating parameters, such as applied load and the flow of methanol solution and air, the impact of each parameter on the output performance and stability of the stack was investigated.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Anode flow channel-parallel (left). Cathode flow channel-serpentine (right).

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Fig. 2

Magnified main flow channel and distribution channel (L). Main flow channel and distribution channel of the stainless steel obstructer (R).

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Fig. 3

Schematic of the 5-cell stack used in this study (L). 5-cell stack used in this study (R).

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Fig. 4

Performance curve of 2-cell, 3-cell, and 5-cell stacks under constant fuel flow (Tcell = 70 °C; cathode: 2X; anode: 2 M MeOH, 11 cm3 min−1)

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Fig. 5

Performance curve of 2-cell, 3-cell, and 5-cell stacks under constant fuel flow (Tcell = 70 °C; cathode: 3X; anode: 2 M MeOH, 11 cm3 min−1)

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Fig. 6

Effect of methanol solution flow rate on performance of the 5-cell stack (anode: 2 M MeOH; Tcell: 70 °C; cathode: 892.5 cm3 min−1 O2)

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Fig. 7

Effect of air flow rate on performance of the 5-cell stack (anode: 2 M MeOH, flow rate: 15 cm3 min−1; Tcell: 70 °C)

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Fig. 8

Long-term stability test of the 5-cell stack (anode: 2 M MeOH, flow rate: 15 cm3 min−1, air flow rate: 4462.5 cm3 min−1; Tcell: 70 °C)

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Fig. 9

Effect of various load on voltage distribution of the 5-cell stack (anode: 2 M MeOH, flow rate: 15 cm3 min−1, air flow rate: 4462.5 cm3 min−1; Tcell: 70 °C)

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Fig. 10

Effect of applied load from 0 to 10 A on stack resistance (anode: 2 M MeOH, flow rate: 15 cm3 min−1; Tcell: 70 °C, 0 s–50 s air: 2975 cm3 min−1)

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Fig. 11

Effect of applied load from 0 to 10 A on stack resistance (anode: 2 M MeOH, flow rate: 15 cm3 min−1; Tcell: 70 °C, 0 s–20 s air: 2975 cm3 min−1 21 s–50 s air: 4462.5 cm3 min−1)

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