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

Title: Direct methanol fuel cells: Developments for portable power and for potential transportation applications

Abstract

The authors describe here results of recent efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), devoted to potential application of Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) as (1) portable power sources at the 50 W level, and (2) primary power sources for electric vehicles. In general, DMFC R and D efforts focus on further improvements in anode catalytic activity, fuel utilization (as related to methanol crossover) and air cathode performance in the presence of the presence of the significant flux of aqueous methanol from anode to cathode. There are significant differences between technical parameters and targets for the two different DMFC applications, which the authors have addressed. They include the lower cell temperature (about 60 C) preferred in portable power vs. operation around 100 C as target temperature for transportation applications, and the much stronger concern for cost of catalyst and any other stack materials in DMFCs developed for potential transportation applications. Most, if not all, recent DMFC work for either portable power or potential transportation applications has strongly focused on cells with polymeric (primarily PFSA) membrane electrolytes. In work at LANL, thin film catalysts bonded to the membrane, e.g., by the decal method, provided best results in terms of catalyst utilizationmore » and overall cell performance. In most tests, the single DMFC hardware consisted of uncatalyzed carbon-cloth gas-diffusion backings and graphite blocks with machined serpentine flow channels--quite similar to hardware employed in work with hydrogen/air PEFCs. However, the machined graphite hardware has recently been replaced by alternative, non-machined flow-field/bipolar plates, which enables effective air and aqueous methanol solution distribution along an active area of 50 cm{sup 2}, at a pitch per cell of 2 mm.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
348896
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-98-3638; CONF-981175-
ON: DE99002550; TRN: AHC29920%%46
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 1998 fuel cell seminar, Palm Springs, CA (United States), Nov 1998; Other Information: PBD: [1998]
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; ALCOHOL FUEL CELLS; METHANOL; ELECTRIC-POWERED VEHICLES; PORTABLE EQUIPMENT; POWER SUPPLIES; ELECTRODES; PERFORMANCE; ELECTROCATALYSTS

Citation Formats

Ren, X, Thomas, S C, Zelenay, P, and Gottesfeld, S. Direct methanol fuel cells: Developments for portable power and for potential transportation applications. United States: N. p., 1998. Web.
Ren, X, Thomas, S C, Zelenay, P, & Gottesfeld, S. Direct methanol fuel cells: Developments for portable power and for potential transportation applications. United States.
Ren, X, Thomas, S C, Zelenay, P, and Gottesfeld, S. Thu . "Direct methanol fuel cells: Developments for portable power and for potential transportation applications". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/348896.
@article{osti_348896,
title = {Direct methanol fuel cells: Developments for portable power and for potential transportation applications},
author = {Ren, X and Thomas, S C and Zelenay, P and Gottesfeld, S},
abstractNote = {The authors describe here results of recent efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), devoted to potential application of Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) as (1) portable power sources at the 50 W level, and (2) primary power sources for electric vehicles. In general, DMFC R and D efforts focus on further improvements in anode catalytic activity, fuel utilization (as related to methanol crossover) and air cathode performance in the presence of the presence of the significant flux of aqueous methanol from anode to cathode. There are significant differences between technical parameters and targets for the two different DMFC applications, which the authors have addressed. They include the lower cell temperature (about 60 C) preferred in portable power vs. operation around 100 C as target temperature for transportation applications, and the much stronger concern for cost of catalyst and any other stack materials in DMFCs developed for potential transportation applications. Most, if not all, recent DMFC work for either portable power or potential transportation applications has strongly focused on cells with polymeric (primarily PFSA) membrane electrolytes. In work at LANL, thin film catalysts bonded to the membrane, e.g., by the decal method, provided best results in terms of catalyst utilization and overall cell performance. In most tests, the single DMFC hardware consisted of uncatalyzed carbon-cloth gas-diffusion backings and graphite blocks with machined serpentine flow channels--quite similar to hardware employed in work with hydrogen/air PEFCs. However, the machined graphite hardware has recently been replaced by alternative, non-machined flow-field/bipolar plates, which enables effective air and aqueous methanol solution distribution along an active area of 50 cm{sup 2}, at a pitch per cell of 2 mm.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1998},
month = {12}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share: