A vapor feed methanol microfluidic fuel cell with high fuel and energy efficiency

Significance Statement

  • A methanol microfluidic fuel cell with vapor feed anode and air-breathing cathode is demonstrated.
  • Advantages of this fuel cell, compared with conventional liquid feed microfluidic fuel cells, include simpler cell structure and fluid management, direct usage of neat methanol, higher system energy density, better cell performance, and improved fuel and energy efficiency.
  • Benefiting from the alleviated fuel crossover effect on cathode and the eliminated fuel depletion boundary layer on anode, a peak power density of 55.4 mWcm−2 under room temperature is achieved.
  • The energy efficiency reached is 9.4% which is 28 times higher than its liquid feed counterpart.

A vapor feed methanol microfluidic fuel cell with high fuel and energy efficiency .Renewable Energy Global Innovations  A vapor feed methanol microfluidic fuel cell with high fuel and energy efficiency.Renewable Energy Global Innovations

Journal Reference

Applied Energy, Volume 147, 2015, Pages 456-465.

Yifei Wang1, Dennis Y.C. Leung1, Jin Xuan1,2,3, Huizhi Wang1,3

Show Affiliations
  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
  2. State-Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
  3. School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, United Kingdom

Abstract

In this paper, a prototype of methanol microfluidic fuel cell with vapor feed anode configuration is proposed to improve the fuel and energy efficiency of the conventional liquid feed methanol microfluidic fuel cells. Peak power density of 55.4 mW cm−2 can be achieved with this prototype under room temperature, which is 30% higher than its conventional liquid feed counterpart. Moreover, an energy efficiency of 9.4% is achieved, which is 27.5 times higher than its liquid feed counterpart. This superiority on both cell performance and energy efficiency is directly benefited from its vapor feed anode configuration, which alleviates the fuel crossover, eliminates the fuel depletion boundary layer, and avoids the bulk anolyte wastage. The tradeoff between cell performance and fuel utilization for conventional liquid feed microfluidic fuel cells is also evaded.

Go To Applied Energy

About the author

Prof. Dennis Y.C. Leung received his BEng in 1982 and PhD in 1988, both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong.  He joined the same department in 1993 and is now a full professor of the department specializing in environmental pollution control and renewable energy development. He has published more than 400 articles in this area including 200 peer reviewed SCI journal papers with high impact factors.  He was invited to publish more than 10 review articles in top scientific journals.  His h-index is 45 and total citations are more than 10000. He is one of the top 1% highly cited scientists in the world in energy field since 2010 (Essential Science Indicators) until now. Prof. Leung has delivered more than 30 keynote and invited speeches in many conferences as well as public lectures.  He serves as a chief editor or editorial board member of many journals including Frontiers in Environmental Sciences, Applied Energy, Journal of Power & Energy, Chinese Science Bulletin, Sustainable Energy, just name a few. Prof. Leung is a chartered engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Energy Institute and the Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics. He had been appointed as chairman of many government and non-government committees including the Energy Institute (HK Branch), ISO 14001 Technical Committee of Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency and the Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification. Prof. Leung received numerous awards including the Outstanding Earth Champion Hong Kong award in 2008 in recognizing his contributions in protecting the environment.

 

Check Also

inorganic-organic hybrid membranes consisting of organotrisiloxane linkages and their fuel cell - Renewable Energy Global Innovations

Synthesis of inorganic-organic hybrid membranes consisting of organotrisiloxane linkages and their fuel cell properties