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Research Papers

Effects of Operating Conditions on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Performance Using Nafion-Based Polymer Electrolytes

[+] Author and Article Information
Shingjiang Jessie Lue

Department of Chemical and
Materials Engineering,
Chang Gung University,
Kwei-shan, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan
e-mail: jessie@mail.cgu.edu.tw

Wei-Luen Hsu, Chen-Yu Chao, K. P. O. Mahesh

Department of Chemical and
Materials Engineering,
Chang Gung University,
Kwei-shan, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received March 17, 2011; final manuscript received March 3, 2014; published online October 7, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Abel Hernandez-Guerrero.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(6), 061004 (Oct 07, 2014) (6 pages) Paper No: FC-11-1043; doi: 10.1115/1.4028611 History: Received March 17, 2011; Revised March 03, 2014

Systematic experiments were carried out to study the effects of various operating conditions on the performances of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) using Nafion 117 and its modified membranes. The cell performance was studied as a function of cell operating temperature, methanol concentration, methanol flow rate, oxygen flow rate, and methanol-to-oxygen stoichiometric ratio. The experimental results revealed that the most significant factor was the temperature, increasing the cell performance from 50 to 80 °C. We achieved the maximum power density (Pmax) of 86.4 mW cm−2 for a DMFC at 80 °C fed with 1 M methanol (flow rate of 2 ml min−1) and humidified oxygen (80 ml min−1). A methanol concentration of 1 M gave much better performance than using 3 M of methanol solution. The oxygen and methanol flow rates with the same stoichiometric ratio had a beneficial effect on cell performance up to certain values, beyond which further increase in flow rate had limited effect. The Voc using argon plasma-modified Nafion was higher than the pristine Nafion membrane for the cell operated on 3 M methanol solution, which was due to the lower methanol permeability of the Ar-modified Nafion.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Experimental setup for the DMFC evaluation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

DMFC performance reproducibility using Nafion 117. (a) Same-day operation, temperature = 50 °C, anode feed = 1 M methanol at 5 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 200 ml min−1 and (b) long-term operation, temperature = 50 °C, anode feed = 1 M methanol at 2 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 50 ml min−1.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) Cell voltage and (b) power density of DMFC fed with 1 M methanol at 50–80 °C (electrolyte = Nafion 117, temperature = 50–80 °C, anode feed = 1 M methanol at 2 ml min−1, cathode feed = oxygen at 80 ml min−1)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

(a) Cell voltage and (b) power density of DMFC fed with 3 M methanol at 50–80 °C (electrolyte = Nafion 117, temperature = 50–80 °C, anode feed = 3 M methanol at 2 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 240 ml min−1)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

DMFC performance for 1 and 3 M methanol feed operated at (a) 50 °C and (b) 70 °C (electrolyte = Nafion 117, temperature = 50 and 70 °C, anode feed = 1 and 3 M methanol at 2 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen, 80 ml min−1 for 1 M methanol and 240 ml min−1 for 3 M methanol)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

(a) Cell voltage and (b) power density of DMFCs employing various oxygen flow rates (electrolyte = Nafion 117, temperature = 50 °C, anode feed = 1 M methanol at 5 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 75–300 ml min−1)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

(a) Cell voltage and (b) power density of DMFCs employing same stoichiometric ratio but various methanol and oxygen flow rates (electrolyte = Nafion 117, temperature = 50 °C, anode feed = 1 M methanol at 2–5 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 80–200 ml min−1)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Cell voltage of DMFCs employing Nafion, Ar-modified, and CF4-modified Nafion electrolytes at (a) 1 M methanol, 70 °C, (b) 3 M methanol, 70 °C, and (c) 3 M methanol, 80 °C (anode flow rate = 2 ml min−1, and cathode feed = oxygen at 80 ml min−1 for 1 M methanol or 240 ml min−1 for 3 M methanol)

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