Real time measurements of methanol crossover in a DMFC

Jiahua Han, Hongtan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Methanol crossover is a serious problem in a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which causes significant voltage loss and waste of fuel. Due to methanol crossover, most DMFCs must operate on a fuel with a very low methanol concentration; yet very low methanol concentration also causes a poor cell performance. Thus, it is very important to find the optimal operating conditions of methanol concentration and other operating parameters. In this research, methanol crossover rate in a DMFC is determined by measuring the carbon dioxide concentration at the cathode exit in real time. By measuring methanol crossover and cell performances at different inlet methanol concentrations and various operating conditions three types of characteristics are identified in the relationships between methanol crossover and cell current density. Further analysis of these relationships between methanol crossover and cell performances reveals the optimal methanol concentration and other operating parameters, at which the cell reaches optimal performance without incurring excessive methanol crossover. Furthermore, transient peaks of methanol crossover have been identified when the cell voltage suddenly changes. Analyses of these peaks show that they are caused by the hysteresis of methanol concentration at the interface between the anode catalyst layer and the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume164
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 10 2007

Keywords

  • Carbon dioxide sensor
  • DMFC
  • Methanol crossover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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