Giner Electrochemical Systems LLC (GES, Newton, MA), an electrochemical research and development company, announced that it has demonstrated a simplified direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) system based on a novel method of supplying methanol to the fuel cell. The technology will be beneficial to DMFCs of all sizes, but is particularly beneficial for micro and low-power fuel cells of up to approximately 20W output for medical devices, cell phones, PDAs, laptops and other wireless devices.
In the GES design, methanol and water vapor are supplied to the anode of the fuel cell from an aqueous methanol fuel solution. Room-temperature performance of the DMFC is 0.414V at 30mA/cm², comparable to that of a standard liquid-feed DMFC at room temperature. In addition, the methanol crossover losses are drastically reduced, especially at higher current densities. The GES method also results in a simplified system for low-power applications. The amount of water in the cathode exhaust is significantly lower than in the standard liquid-feed DMFC, eliminating cathode exhaust, water-recovery and separation processes.
Cecelia Cropley, director of systems engineering at GES, stated, "Eliminating direct contact between the anode and the aqueous solution reduces methanol crossover by up to 80 percent, compared to standard liquid-feed operation, significantly increasing fuel efficiency and reducing the volume of fuel that must be carried."