A three-dimensional two-phase flow model for a liquid-fed direct methanol fuel cell

Jiabin Ge, Hongtan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional, two-phase, multi-component model has been developed for a liquid-fed DMFC. The modeling domain consists of the membrane, two catalyst layers, two diffusion layers, and two channels. Both liquid and gas phases are considered in the entire anode, including the channel, the diffusion layer and the catalyst layer; while at the cathode, two phases are considered in the gas diffusion layer and the catalyst layer but only single gas phase is considered in the channels. For electrochemical kinetics, the Tafel equation incorporating the effects of two phases is used at both the cathode and anode sides. At the anode side the presence of gas phase reduces the active catalyst areas, while at the cathode side the presence of liquid water reduces the active catalyst areas. The mixed potential effects due to methanol crossover are also included in the model. The results from the two-phase flow mode fit the experimental results better than those from the single-phase model. The modeling results show that the single-phase models over-predict methanol crossover. The modeling results also show that the porosity of the anode diffusion layer plays an important role in the DMFC performance. With low diffusion layer porosity, the produced carbon dioxide cannot be removed effectively from the catalyst layer, thus reducing the active catalyst area as well as blocking methanol from reaching the reaction zone. A similar effect exits in the cathode for the liquid water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-915
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • DMFC
  • Fuel cell
  • Fuel cell model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry
  • Fuel Technology
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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