Journal article Open Access

Reduction of methanol crossover in a flowing electrolyte-direct methanol fuel cell

C. Ozgur Colpan; David Ouellette; Andreas Glüsen; Martin Müller; Detlef Stolten

The flowing electrolyte-direct methanol fuel cell (FE-DMFC) is a type of fuel cell in which a flowing liquid electrolyte is used, in addition to two solid membranes, to reduce methanol crossover. In this study, FE-DMFCs having new materials and design were manufactured and studied. In this design, the flow field plates were made of stainless steel 2205 and had a pin type flow structure. PTFE treated carbon felts were used as the backing layers as well as the flowing electrolyte channel. Nafion® 115 or Nafion® 212 was used as the membranes. The polarization curves and methanol crossover current densities under different methanol concentrations and flow rates of sulfuric acid were measured using fully automated DMFC test stations. The performances of the FE-DMFCs were compared with those of the DMFCs having a single or double membrane. This study is, to the authors' knowledge, the first experimental study on measuring the methanol crossover in a FE-DMFC. The results of this study demonstrate that this technology enables a significant reduction of methanol permeation. At different cell current densities, Faradaic efficiencies up to 98% were achieved. It was shown that for a fixed flow rate of sulfuric acid solution (5 ml/min), at 0.1 A/cm2, the Nafion® 115 based FE-DMFC operating at 1 M yields the highest cell voltage (0.38 V). The maximum power density of the FE-DMFC (0.0561 W/cm2) was achieved when the cell operates with 3 M methanol concentration and 10 ml/min sulfuric acid solution at 0.3 A/cm2.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 661579. 

Project Name: Development of a High Performance Flowing Electrolyte-Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Stack Through Modeling and Experimental Studies

Acronym: FEDMFC

Publication date: 2017-01-30

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