Diffusion-driven proton exchange membrane fuel cell for converting fermenting biomass to electricity

Bioresour Technol. 2015 Jul 7. pii: S0960-8524.

Malati P1, Mehrotra P1, Minoofar P1, Mackie DM2, Sumner JJ2, Ganguli R3.

Show Affiliations

1Teledyne Scientific Company, 1049 Camino Dos Rios, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.

2U.S. Army Research Laboratory, SEDD, Adelphi, MD, USA.

3Teledyne Scientific Company, 1049 Camino Dos Rios, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]

 

Abstract

A membrane-integrated proton exchange membrane fuel cell that enables in situ fermentation of sugar to ethanol, diffusion-driven separation of ethanol, and its catalytic oxidation in a single continuous process is reported. The fuel cell consists of a fermentation chamber coupled to a direct ethanol fuel cell. The anode and fermentation chambers are separated by a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane. Ethanol generated from fermented biomass in the fermentation chamber diffuses through the RO membrane into a glucose solution contained in the DEFC anode chamber. The glucose solution is osmotically neutral to the biomass solution in the fermentation chamber preventing the anode chamber from drying out. The fuel cell sustains >1.3mWcm-2 at 47°C with high discharge capacity. No separate purification or dilution is necessary, resulting in an efficient and portable system for direct conversion of fermenting biomass to electricity.

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Diffusion-driven proton exchange membrane fuel cell for converting fermenting biomass to electricity. Renewable Energy Global Innovations

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