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Fuel Cell Basics

How Ion Exchange Works
In nature, the majority of gases, liquids, and solids are not charged (in the neutral form). Ion exchange, where free ions are exchanged for different ions, occurs when there is an open network structure to carry the ions through it. There are many natural and man-made mediums that are ion exchangers, including solids, liquids, and gases. The medium needs to be in contact with the ion exchanger and these two entities exchange some of its ions for similarly charged ions. The medium is often a solid ion exchanger in contact with an aqueous solution or gas. If you recall from chemistry, there ..
Compact Transient Model for Nafion Membranes

A numerical model was developed to predict the water concentration, temperature, potential and pressure across a Nafion membrane used in proton exchange membrane (PEM) based fuel cells. The numerical model consists of simultaneously calculating the diffusive flux for water and hydrogen, the proton potential and the pressure and temperature at each node...

An Introduction to Ion Exchange Membranes and Salt Splitting

Ion-exchanges membranes (IEMs) have many applications beyond fuel cells -- they can also be used to synthesize all types of compounds that are used in various industries. The most popular IEMs consist of polymeric resins with charged functional groups based upon their ion selectivity, they are referred to as anion-exchange (AEM) and...

Anion Exchange Membranes (AEMs)

Anion exchange membranes (AEMS) have been an active area of research for over a decade. AEMS can be used for fuel cells, redox flow batteries, electrolyzers, and even water desalination membranes. The electrolyte layer is the “heart” of electrochemical cells such as fuel cells, batteries, and because it transports ions from...

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...

A One-Dimensional Heat, Mass and Charge Transfer Model for a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Stack

A one-dimensional heat, mass and charge transfer model was developed for a polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack to predict the temperatures, mass flows, pressure drops, and charge transport of each fuel cell layer over different operating conditions. The fuel cell layers’ boundaries were...

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...