Categories

Fuel Cell Basics

An Introduction to Alkaline Fuel Cells

Alkaline fuel cells (AFCs) was one of the first extensively researched fuel cell types and was used by NASA for the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle missions. The first alkali electrolyte fuel cell was built by Francis Thomas Bacon (1904–1992) in 1939. He used potassium hydroxide for the electrolyte and...

Calculator for Preparing Methanol-Water Mixture for DMFCs

Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) utilize a mixture of methanol and deionized water (or distilled water) as the fuel for anode side. The most common range for the molarity of the methanol is 0 to 1 Molar and occasionally 0 to 2 Molars (the latter one for advanced users utilizing customized MEAs or CCMs). Our MEAs or CCMs that are manufactured for DMFCs...

Building a Micro DMFC Design

This blog post includes a quick fuel cell introduction, parts list and design for a 1 cm x 1 cm (active area) fuel cell. This summary was put together mainly for students interested in fuel cell research. Figure 1 presents a summary of the dimensions and basic characteristics of most MEMs fuel cell stacks in the...

Become a Renewable Energy Expert

Many years ago, there was a great guy that used to sit next to me at work. We used to laugh a lot when people called themselves “experts.” When it was really true -- we didn’t laugh; however, it often was not true. Our fast-paced culture breeds this mentality because many individuals think that if they do something...

Transport Phenomena in Micro and MEMs Fuel Cells

As fuel cell size decreases, the transport phenomena of the fuels and water changes in the fuel cell. In standard fuel cell designs, the movement of fuel and water is governed by volumetric effects, but surface effects become critical as dimensions shrink. A good rule of thumb is that millimeter-scale devices are small enough for...

Fuel Cell Reactant Delivery

Small plant components are required to deliver the reactants to the fuel cell with the required conditions. Examples of these components are blowers, compressors, pumps, and humidification systems used to deliver the gases to the fuel cell with the proper temperature, humidity, flow rate and...

Pressure Distribution in Bipolar Plate Flow Channels

After the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) has been fabricated, it must be integrated into a fuel cell stack. The stack has multiple jobs, including evenly distributing fuel and oxidant to the cells, collecting the current to power the desired devices, and evenly distributing or discarding heat and...

Processing Alternative Fuels for Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are not limited to pure hydrogen gas as fuel. Each type of fuel cell stack has different fuel tolerances. The lower the operating temperature of the stack, the stricter the requirements for pure fuel. For fuels other than pure hydrogen, an external fuel processing system may...

Chemical Hydrides

Fuel cells often use compressed hydrogen as the fuel; however, many other hydrogen sources can be used with fuel cells. Chemical hydride storage is an alternative method of producing hydrogen via a chemical reaction. These reactions involve chemical hydrides, water, and alcohols. The chemical reactions are not reversible, and the byproducts must be discarded. Hydrogen fuel can also...

Metal Hydrides

Fuel cells usually use compressed hydrogen as the fuel, but there are many other types of fuels that can be used. The type of fuel used depends upon the fuel cell application. Fuels are often in their final form before entering the fuel cell; however, certain fuel cell types can be processed on the inside of the fuel cell. Alternative fuel types are...