skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells

Abstract

Methods for conditioning the membrane electrode assembly of a direct methanol fuel cell ("DMFC") are disclosed. In a first method, an electrical current of polarity opposite to that used in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is passed through the anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly. In a second method, methanol is supplied to an anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, allowed to cross over the polymer electrolyte membrane of the membrane electrode assembly to a cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, and an electrical current of polarity opposite to that in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is drawn through the membrane electrode assembly, wherein methanol is oxidized at the cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly while the catalyst on the anode surface is reduced. Surface oxides on the direct methanol fuel cell anode catalyst of the membrane electrode assembly are thereby reduced.

Inventors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. (Newington, CT)
  2. (Menands, NY)
  3. (Niskayuna, NY)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1007906
Patent Number(s):
6,962,760
Application Number:
10/460,452
Assignee:
The Regents of the University of California (Los Alamos, NM) ALO
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Rice, Cynthia, Ren, Xiaoming, and Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells. United States: N. p., 2005. Web.
Rice, Cynthia, Ren, Xiaoming, & Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells. United States.
Rice, Cynthia, Ren, Xiaoming, and Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Tue . "Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1007906.
@article{osti_1007906,
title = {Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells},
author = {Rice, Cynthia and Ren, Xiaoming and Gottesfeld, Shimshon},
abstractNote = {Methods for conditioning the membrane electrode assembly of a direct methanol fuel cell ("DMFC") are disclosed. In a first method, an electrical current of polarity opposite to that used in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is passed through the anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly. In a second method, methanol is supplied to an anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, allowed to cross over the polymer electrolyte membrane of the membrane electrode assembly to a cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, and an electrical current of polarity opposite to that in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is drawn through the membrane electrode assembly, wherein methanol is oxidized at the cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly while the catalyst on the anode surface is reduced. Surface oxides on the direct methanol fuel cell anode catalyst of the membrane electrode assembly are thereby reduced.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

Patent:

Save / Share:
  • A direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) having a methanol fuel supply, oxidant supply, and its membrane electrode assembly (MEA) formed of an anode electrode and a cathode electrode with a membrane therebetween, a methanol oxidation catalyst adjacent the anode electrode and the membrane, an oxidant reduction catalyst adjacent the cathode electrode and the membrane, comprises an oxidant reduction catalyst layer of a platinum-chromium alloy so that oxidation at the cathode of methanol that crosses from the anode through the membrane to the cathode is reduced with a concomitant increase of net electrical potential at the cathode electrode.
  • A direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) having a methanol fuel supply, oxidant supply, and its membrane electrode assembly (MEA) formed of an anode electrode and a cathode electrode with a membrane therebetween, a methanol oxidation catalyst adjacent the anode electrode and the membrane, an oxidant reduction catalyst adjacent the cathode electrode and the membrane, comprises an oxidant reduction catalyst layer of Pt.sub.3Cr/C so that oxidation at the cathode of methanol that crosses from the anode through the membrane to the cathode is reduced with a concomitant increase of net electrical potential at the cathode electrode.
  • Inks are formulated for forming anode and cathode catalyst layers and applied to anode and cathode sides of a membrane for a direct methanol fuel cell. The inks comprise a Pt catalyst for the cathode and a Pt--Ru catalyst for the anode, purified water in an amount 4 to 20 times that of the catalyst by weight, and a perfluorosulfonic acid ionomer in an amount effective to provide an ionomer content in the anode and cathode surfaces of 20% to 80% by volume. The inks are prepared in a two-step process while cooling and agitating the solutions. The final solutionmore » is placed in a cooler and continuously agitated while spraying the solution over the anode or cathode surface of the membrane as determined by the catalyst content.« less
  • The fuel utilization of a direct methanol fuel cell is enhanced for improved cell efficiency. Distribution plates at the anode and cathode of the fuel cell are configured to distribute reactants vertically and laterally uniformly over a catalyzed membrane surface of the fuel cell. A conductive sheet between the anode distribution plate and the anodic membrane surface forms a mass transport barrier to the methanol fuel that is large relative to a mass transport barrier for a gaseous hydrogen fuel cell. In a preferred embodiment, the distribution plate is a perforated corrugated sheet. The mass transport barrier may be convenientlymore » increased by increasing the thickness of an anode conductive sheet adjacent the membrane surface of the fuel cell.« less
  • A method of powering a high temperature molten carbonate fuel cell using direct internal reformation of methanol. The methanol is reformed spontaneously using the anode catalyst and cell waste heat creating hydrogen which is consumed as fuel at the anode and carbon dioxide which is used to enrich the cathode oxidant. In addition, the reformation reaction is endothermic and therefore will aid in managing excess heat at the anode.