Research Paper

Part Load Efficiency Enhancement of an Automotive Engine Via a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell-Internal Combustion Engine Hybrid System

[+] Author and Article Information
Osman Sinan Suslu

Istanbul Technical University,
Energy Institute,
ITU Ayazaga Kampusu,
Maslak, Istanbul 34469, Turkey
e-mail: osmansinan@superonline.com

Ipek Becerik

Chemistry Department,
Istanbul Technical University,
ITU Ayazaga Kampusu 34469,
Maslak, Istanbul 34469, Turkey

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received October 7, 2012; final manuscript received January 27, 2013; published online May 7, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(3), 031001 (May 07, 2013) (9 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1101; doi: 10.1115/1.4023840 History: Received October 07, 2012; Revised January 27, 2013

The operation of a direct methanol fuel cell with an internal combustion engine in a hybrid system is investigated in terms of fuel efficiency. The following work shows a potential for fuel saving because the engine's waste heat is utilized in preconditioning of methanol for the fuel cell and in postconditioning of the cell's anode exhaust for the engine. The low activity of methanol oxidation catalysts and methanol crossover are the main drawbacks of direct methanol fuel cells. H3PO4-doped polybenzimidazole membranes have lower methanol crossover, and allow a higher operational temperature and methanol concentration compared to Nafion membranes. The operation of the cell at higher temperature with polybenzimidazole membranes improves catalyst activity and mass transfer increasing cell efficiency. But the fuel feed to this type of membrane must be in vapor phase. Methanol solution can be evaporated by the engine coolant. Unutilized methanol in the anode exhaust is converted to H2 rich product gas in a reactor before feeding into the engine. The endothermic reaction enthalpy for this conversion is recovered from engine's exhaust gas. The system efficiency increases with the cell's fuel utilization, as long as the cell's efficiency is higher than the engine's efficiency. In order to increase the system efficiency with load, the current density of the fuel cell should not be increased beyond the point where the cell and engine efficiency meet. Beyond that, the product gas should be substituted with liquid methanol to meet the rest of the load because the engine charge's energy density can be increased with liquid methanol injection into the engine. If the engine charge is comprised of fuel cell exhaust only and the engine's indicated efficiency is 20%, the efficiency of the hybrid system will be 25.5% at a cell voltage of 0.4 V and a cell fuel utilization of 40%. This corresponds to a fuel saving of 28% compared to the internal combustion engine. The hybrid system efficiency will increase to 28.5% at this operating point, if the fuel cell's anode exhaust is further decomposed in a reactor prior to combustion in the engine. The addition of the reactor to the hybrid system corresponds to a fuel saving of 43% compared to the engine and a fuel saving of 12% compared to the hybrid system without the reactor.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Ahluwalia, R. K., and Wang, X., 2005, “Direct Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems for Hybrid Vehicles,” J. Power Sources, 139(1–2), pp. 152–164. [CrossRef]
Penner, S. S., Appleby, A. J., Baker, B. S., Bates, J. L., Buss, L. B., Dollard, W. J., Fartis, P. J., Gillis, E. A., Gunsher, J. A., Khandkar, A., Krumpelt, M., O'Sullivan, J. B., Runte, G., Savinell, R. F., Selman, J. R., Shores, D. A., and Tarman, P., 1995, “Fuel Cell Systems Towards Commercialization,” Energy, 20(5), pp. 331–470. [CrossRef]
Dönitz, W., 1998, “Fuel Cells for Mobile Applications, Status, Requirements and Future Application Potential,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 23(7), pp. 611–615. [CrossRef]
Lindström, B., and Pettersson, L. J., 2001, “Hydrogen Generation by Steam Reforming of Methanol Over Copper-Based Catalysts for Fuel Cell Applications,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 26(9), pp. 923–933. [CrossRef]
Amphlett, J. C., Mann, R. F., and Peppley, B., 1996, “Performance and Operating Characteristics of Methanol Steam—Reforming Catalysts for On-Board Fuel Cell Hydrogen Production,” Proceedings of 11th World Hydrogen Energy Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, June 23–28, pp. 1737–1744.
Haji, S., Malinger, K. A., Suib, S. L., and ErkeyC., 2006, “Fuels and Fuels Processing,” Fuel Cell Technology: Reaching Towards Commercialization, N.Sammes, ed., Springer, London, pp. 165–202.
Cleghorn, S. J. C., Ren, X., Springer, T. E., Wilson, M. S., Zawodzinski, C., Zawodzinski, T. A., and Gottesfeld, S., 1997, “PEM Fuel Cells for Transportation and Stationary Power Generation Applications,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 22(12), pp. 1137–1144. [CrossRef]
Wasmus, S., and Küver, A., 1999, “Methanol Oxidation and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: A Selective Review,” J. Electroanal. Chem., 461(1–2), pp. 14–31. [CrossRef]
Ren, X., Springer, T. E., and Gottesfeld, S. J., 2000, “Water and Methanol Uptakes in Nafion Membranes and Membrane Effects in Direct Methanol Cell Performance,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 147(1), pp. 92–98. [CrossRef]
Chu, D., and Gilman, S. J., 1994, “The Influence of Methanol on O2 Electroreduction at a Rotating Pt Disk Electrode in Acid Electrolyte,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 141(7), pp. 1770–1773. [CrossRef]
Heinzel, A., and Barragan, V. M., 1999, “A Review of the State-of-the-Art of the Methanol Crossover in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells,” J. Power Sources, 84(1), pp. 70–74. [CrossRef]
Scott, K., Taama, W., and Cruikshank, J., 1997, “Performance and Modeling of a Direct Methanol Solid Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell,” J. Power Sources65(1–2), pp. 159–171. [CrossRef]
Hacquard, A., 2005, “Improving and Understanding Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Performance,” Ph.D. thesis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA.
Zhao, T. S., Yang, W. W., Chen, R., and Wu, Q. X., 2010, “Towards Operating Direct Methanol Fuel Cells With Highly Concentrated Fuel,” J. Power Sources, 195(11), pp. 3451–3462. [CrossRef]
Wainright, J. S., Wang, J. T., Weng, D., Savinell, R. F., and Litt, M., 1995, “Acid-Doped Polybenzimidazoles: A New Polymer Electrolyte,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 142(7), pp. L121–L123. [CrossRef]
Maricle, D. L., Murach, B. L., and Van Dine, L. L., 1994, The Electrochemical Society Extended Abstracts, The Electrochemical Society, San Francisco, CA, Vol. 35, p. 58.
Qingfeng, L., Hjuler, H. A., and Bjerrum, N. J., 2001, “Phosporic Acid Doped Polybenzimidazole Membranes: Physiochemical Characterization and Fuel Cell Applications,” J. Appl. Electrochem., 31(7), pp. 773–779. [CrossRef]
Lobato, J., Canizares.P., Rodrigo, M. A., Linares, J. J., and Lopez-Vizcaino, R., 2008, “Performance of a Vapor-Fed Polybenzimidazole (PBI)-Based Direct Methanol Fuel Cell,” Energy Fuels, 22(5), pp. 3335–3345. [CrossRef]
Wang, J. T., Wasmus, S., and Savinell, R., 1996, “Real-Time Mass Spectrometric Study of the Methanol Crossover in a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 143(4), pp. 1233–1239. [CrossRef]
Li, Q., He, R., Berg, R. W., Hjuler, H. A., and Bjerrum, N. J., 2004, “Water Uptake and Acid Doping of Polybenzimidazoles as Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cells,” Solid State Ionics, 168(1–2), pp. 177–185. [CrossRef]
Xu, C., and Faghri, A., 2010, “Mass Transport Analysis of a Passive Vapor-Feed Direct Methanol Fuel Cell,” J. Power Sources, 195(20), pp. 7011–7024. [CrossRef]
Izenson, M. G., and Hill, R. W., 2005, “Water Balance in PEM and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells,” J. Fuel Cell Sci. Tech., 2(1), pp. 1–8. [CrossRef]
Sundmacher, K., and Scott, K., 1999, “Direct Methanol Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell: Analysis of Charge and Mass Transfer in the Vapour-Liquid-Solid System,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 54(13–14), pp. 2927–2936. [CrossRef]
Sundmacher, K., Nowitzki, O., and HoffmannU., 1997, “Sauerstoffreduktion an Gasdiffusionselektroden mit Nichtedelmetall Katalysatoren,” Chem.-Ing.Tech., 69(8), pp. 1143–1146. [CrossRef]
Sun, G. Q., Wang, J. T., Gupta, S., and Savinell, R. F., 2001, “Iron(III) Tetramethoxyphenylporphyrin (FeTMPP-Cl) as Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells,” J. Appl. Electrochem., 31(9), pp. 1025–1031. [CrossRef]
Singhal, S. C., 2000, “Advances in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology,” Solid State Ionics, 135(1–4), pp. 305–313. [CrossRef]
Obara, S., and TannoI., 2007, “Study on Capacity Optimization of PEM Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Mixing Gas-Engine Compound Generator,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 32(17), pp. 4329–4339. [CrossRef]
Baker, B. S., 2000, “Grove Medal Acceptance Address,” J. Power Sources, 86(1–2), pp. 9–15. [CrossRef]
Morgenstern, D. A., and Fornango, J. P., 2005, “Low-Temperature Reforming of Ethanol Over Copper-Plated Raney Nickel: A New Route to Sustainable Hydrogen for Transportation,” Energy Fuels, 19(4), pp. 1708–1716. [CrossRef]
Lin, Y. M., and Rei, M. H., 2000, “Process Development for Generating High Purity Hydrogen by Using Supported Palladium Membrane Reactor as Steam Reformer,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 25(3), pp. 211–219. [CrossRef]
Wieland, S., Melin.T., and Lamm, A., 2002, “Membrane Reactors for Hydrogen Production,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 57(9), pp. 1571–1576. [CrossRef]
Suslu, O. S., and Becerik, I., 2009, “On Board Fuel Processing for a Fuel Cell-Heat Engine Hybrid System,” Energy Fuels, 23(4), pp. 1858–1873. [CrossRef]
Suslu, O. S., Civelekoglu, M., and Becerik, I., 2011, “Model of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell—Internal Combustion Engine for Automotive Propulsion,” Abstracts of the 220th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society , The Electrochemical Society, Boston, Vol. B1, p. 327.
Ren, X., Becerra, J. J., Hirsch, R. S., and Gottesfeld, S., 2008, “Direct Oxidation Fuel Cell Operating With Direct Feed of Concentrated Fuel Under Passive Water Management,” US Patent No. 7407721 B2.
Wasmus, S., Wang, J. T., and Savinell, R. F., 1995, “Real-Time Mass Spectrometric Investigation of the Methanol Oxidation in a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 142(11), pp. 3825–3833. [CrossRef]
Lin, W. F., Wang, J. T., and Savinell, R. F., 1997, “On-Line FTIR Spectroscopic Investigations of Methanol Oxidation in a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 144(6), pp. 1917–1922. [CrossRef]
Christiansen, J. A., 1921, “A Reaction Between Methyl Alcohol and Water and Some Related Reactions,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 43(7), pp. 1670–1672. [CrossRef]
Brown, L. F., 2001, “A Comparative Study of Fuels for On-Board Hydrogen Production for Fuel-Cell-Powered Automobiles,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 26(4), pp. 381–397. [CrossRef]
Voecks, G. E., Dawson, S., and Houseman, J., 1980, “Operation of a Catalytic Methanol Decomposition Reactor for Vehicular Use,” Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels Technology, Guaruja, Brazil, October 5–8.
Finegold, J. G., Karpuk, M. E., and McKinnon, J. T., 1980, “Demonstration of Dissociated Methanol as an Automotive Fuel: System Design,” Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels Technology, Guaruja, Brazil, October 5–8.
Finegold, J. G., Karpuk, M. E., McKinnon, J. T., and Passamaneck, R., 1981, “Demonstration of Dissociated Methanol as an Automotive Fuel: System Performance,” American Section of the International Solar Energy Society Conference, Philadelphia, PA, May 27–30.
Lindner, B., and Sjöström, K., 1984, “Operation of an Internal Combustion Engine: Lean Conditions With Hydrogen Produced in an Onboard Methanol Reforming Unit,” Fuel, 63(11), pp. 1485–1490. [CrossRef]
Cheng, W. H., 1995, “Reaction and XRD Studies on Cu Based Methanol Decomposition Catalysts: Role of Constituents and Development of High Activity Multicomponent Catalysts,” Appl. Catal., A, 130(1), pp. 13–30. [CrossRef]
Cheng, W. H., 1998, “Development of Methanol Dissociation Technology,” 9th ROC-Japan Joint Symposium on Catalysis, Nantou, Taiwan, February 8–10.
Cheng, W. H., 1995, “Deactivation and Regeneration of Methanol Decomposition Catalysts,” Appl. Catal. B, 7(1–2), pp. 127–136. [CrossRef]
Cheng, W. H., Shiau, C. Y., Liu, T. H., Tung, H. L., Chen, H. H., Lu, J. F., and Hsu, C. C., 1998, “Stability of Copper Based Catalysts Enhanced by Carbon Dioxide in Methanol Decomposition,” Appl. Catal. B, 18(1–2), pp. 63–70. [CrossRef]
ChengW. H., 1999, “Development of Methanol Decomposition Catalysts for Production of H2 and CO,” Acc. Chem. Res., 32(8), pp. 685–691. [CrossRef]
Jamal, Y., and Wyszynski, M. L., 1994, “On-Board Generation of Hydrogen-Rich Gaseous Fuels—A Review,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 19(7), pp. 557–572. [CrossRef]
Veziroglu, T. N., and Barbir, F., 1992, “Hydrogen: The Wonder Fuel,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 17(6), pp. 391–404. [CrossRef]
Petkov, T., Veziroglu, T. N., and Sheffield, J. W., 1989, “An Oak of Hydrogen as an Automotive Fuel,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 14(7), pp. 449–474. [CrossRef]
May, H., and Gwinner, D., 1981 “Möglichkeiten der Verbesserung von Abgasemissionen und Energieverbrauch bei Wasserstoff-Benzin-Mischbetrieb,” Motortech. Z., 42(1), pp. 125–130.
Finegold, J. G., 1978, “Hydrogen: Primary or Supplementary Fuel for Automotive Engines,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 3(1), pp. 83–104. [CrossRef]
Lindström, O., 1971, “Saett att reducera maengden skadliga bestandsdela i det avgasflöde som avges fran en förbraenningsmotor och anordning haerför,” Swedish Patent No. SE349549 B.
Lindström, O., 1972, “Anordning för genomförande av sättet enligt patentkrav 1 i patentet 349 549, varvid reformeringsreaktorn är anordnad I värmeutbyte med även åtminstone en del av den avgas som inte införes i reformeringsreaktorn” Swedish Patent No. SE360062 B.
Lindström, O., 1975, “Fuel Treatment for Combustion Engines,” US Patent No. US003918412.
Lindström, O., 1978, “Sätt och anordning för drift av förbränningsmotorer,” Swedish Patent No. SE7703011 L.
Lindström, O., 1981, “Procedure for the Operation of Combustion Engine,” US Patent No, US004244328.
Sjöström, K., 1977, “Fuel Converter With Methanol for Spark-Ignition Internal Combustion Engine,” Proceedings of the International Symposium. on Alcohol Fuel Technology—Methanol and Ethanol, Wolfsburg, Germany, November 21–23.
Pettersson, L., and Sjöström, K., 1990, “An Experimental and Theoretical Evaluation of the Onboard Evaluation of the Onboard Decomposed Methanol Spark-Ignition Engine,” Comb. Sci. Tech.71(1–3), pp. 129–143. [CrossRef]
Anthonissen, E., and Wallace, J. J., 1983, “Dissociated Methanol Engine Testing Results Using H2-CO Mixtures,” 18th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Orlando, FL, August 21–26.
Pischinger, R., 1999, Kolbenmaschinen, Hochschülerschaft an der Technischen, Universitaet Graz, Graz, Austria.
De Boer, P.C.T., McLean, W. J., and Homan, H. S., 1976, “Performance and Emissions of Hydrogen Fueled Internal Combustion Engines.” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 1(2), pp. 153–172. [CrossRef]
Suzuki, H., Koike, N., and Adaka, M., 1997, “Exhaust Purification of Diesel Engines by Homogeneous Charge With Compression Ignition Part 1: Experimental Investigation of Combustion and Exhaust Emission Behavior Under Pre-Mixed Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition Method,” SAE Tech. Paper No. 970313. [CrossRef]
Ishii, H., Koike, N., Suzuki, H., and Odaka, M., 1997, “Exhaust Purification of Diesel Engines by Homogeneous Charge With Compression Ignition Part 2: Analysis of Combustion Phenomena and NOx Formation by Numerical Simulation With Experiment,” SAE Tech. Paper No. 970315. [CrossRef]
Glazebrook, R. W., 1982, “Efficiencies of Heat Engines and Fuel Cells: The Methanol Fuel Cell as a Competitor to Otto and Diesel Engines,” J. Power Sources, 7(3), pp. 215–256. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Flow sheet of the DMFC-ICE hybrid system [33]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Mixture heat value as a function of λ

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Minimum operational voltage with respect to system parameters

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Hybrid system efficiency without reactor

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Efficiency of a hybrid system including a decomposition reactor



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In