The objective is to develop a low-cost, low temperature, portable direct methanol fuel cell device. It will also offer limited operation on ethanol fuel and will be of compact construction and modular design. The development will include novel proton exchange membranes, anode and cathode electro catalysts and fully optimised multilayer membrane electrode assemblies. New low-cost proton exchange membranes will be developed to reduce the methanol crossover rate through the electrolyte to levels significantly lower than that of currently available materials (e.g. Nafion). New electro catalyst materials will be developed to enhance the low temperature methanol (and ethanol) electro-oxidation activity of the anode. Catalyst development for the cathode will focus on enhancing the oxygen reduction activity of platinum electro catalyst and increasing its selectivity to enhance methanol tolerance.
The structure of the electro catalyst and electrode layers will be optimised to promote efficient operation at low temperatures with practical flows and pressures.
System optimisation, simplification and miniaturization will be carried out. The final performance objectives will be: single cells operating at 0.5V / cell at 0.2 Acm-2 at 30-60 C (in atmospheric pressure air).
Prototypes of 100 and later 500 W stacks, operating at low temperatures with aimed electrical characteristics of 40 A/12.5 V, will be the targets of the project. The effective operation at this low temperature is particularly challenging. Additionally a conceptual study for up-scale will be supplied. A narrow collaboration between research centres and industry will make possible a rapid exploitation of the new components and system developments.
A SME will be responsible for the integration and will deliver the prototypes. The potential market for portable fuel cells includes weather stations, medical devices, signal units, auxiliary power units, gas sensors and security cameras.
Fields of science
- natural scienceschemical scienceselectrochemistryelectrolysis
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringsensorsoptical sensors
- engineering and technologyenvironmental engineeringenergy and fuelsfuel cell
- natural sciencesphysical sciencesopticsmicroscopyelectron microscopy
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencesatmospheric sciencesmeteorologyatmospheric pressure
- natural scienceschemical sciencesorganic chemistryketones
- natural scienceschemical sciencesinorganic chemistryinorganic compounds
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project