High energy density direct methanol fuel cells
MetadataShow full item record
The goal of this dissertation was to create a new class of DMFC targeted at high energy density and low loss for small electronic devices. In order for the DMFC to efficiently use all its fuel, with a minimum of balance of plant, a low-loss proton exchange membrane was required. Moderate conductivity and ultra low methanol permeability were needed. Fuel loss is the dominant loss mechanism for low power systems. By replacing the polymer membrane with an inorganic glass membrane, the methanol permeability was reduced, leading to low fuel loss. In order to achieve steady state performance, a compliant, chemically stable electrode structure was investigated. An anode electrode structure to minimize the fuel loss was studied, so as to further increase the fuel cell efficiency. Inorganic proton conducting membranes and electrodes have been made through a sol-gel process. To achieve higher voltage and power, multiple fuel cells can be connected in series in a stack. For the limited volume allowed for the small electronic devices, a noble, compact DMFC stack was designed. Using an ADMFC with a traditional DMFC including PEM, twice higher voltage was achieved by sharing one methanol fuel tank. Since the current ADMFC technology is not as mature as the traditional DMFCs with PEM, the improvement was accomplished to achieve higher performance from ADMFC. The ultimate goal of this study was to develop a DMFC system with high energy density, high energy efficiency, longer-life and lower-cost for low power systems.