Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FEDMFC (DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE FLOWING ELECTROLYTE-DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELL STACK THROUGH MODELING AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES)
Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-08-31
In this project, the main objective was to develop a high performance FE-DMFC stack through modeling and experimental studies. For this purpose, a three-dimensional and two-phase multiphysics model, which includes all the transport phenomena, was developed to predict the performance of the FE-DMFC stack accurately. In addition, a FE-DMFC based on alternative materials was manufactured in-house in cooperation with the partner organization in Europe (Forschungszentrum Jülich). Through the experimental and modeling studies, the effect of key design and operating parameters of the FE-DMFC on the output parameters was investigated; thus the parameters that increase the performance of this fuel cell mostly were determined. The specific objectives of the project are listed below.
• To develop a three-dimensional and two-phase multiphysics model of the FE-DMFC, which includes all the transport phenomena in all the layers
• To manufacture a FE-DMFC based on alternative materials
• To validate the model developed with experimental data
• To investigate the effect of significant design and operating parameters on the output parameters of the FE-DMFC
• To determine the parameters that increase the performance of this fuel cell mostly
This project is expected to contribute to the economy and prosperity of European Society as it was shown that FE-DMFC having alternative materials could have high performance and be used in portable devices in future. It was also shown that FE-DMFC can be used as a characterization tool to study the performance of cathodic electrodes and the influence of crossover in DMFCs. The result of this project can be beneficial for some of the fuel cell companies, universities, and research institutes that are interested in using methanol as the fuel to generate electricity.
• High faradaic efficiencies up to 98 % are possible with the FE-DMFC at different current densities.
• Under the tested conditions, methanol crossover can be reduced by a factor of more than 10.
• Nafion® 115 based FE-DMFC has the best performance (0.38 V at 0.1 A/cm2) when it operates with 1 M methanol concentration and 5 ml/min sulfuric acid flow rate.
• The numerical studies showed that flowing electrolyte thickness, flowing electrolyte flow rate and methanol concentration are the most important parameters affecting the performance of the FE-DMFC.
• In a FE-DMFC stack, the cells furthest from the outlet manifold in a U-shaped configuration have the least amount of flow. This lead the anode methanol concentration distribution to have a low uniformity in these cells.
As a result of the activities carried out during this project, three journal papers and three conference papers were prepared. Five presentations were done in international conferences; and two seminars were given. Dr. Colpan created a webpage for the project, which included the objective, research highlights, and a list of the presentations and publications done from this project.
This project has made significant impact in different dimensions. Dr. Colpan visited Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany for 3 months. This visit improved Dr. Colpan’s knowledge on fuel cell experimentation. He was able to expand his network through his visit to Jülich and attendance to conferences. Some plans for future collaborative works have been made with some of the researchers met during these events. Dr. Colpan increased his number of publications as well as the infrastructure of his fuel cell laboratory. He purchased equipment such as automatic film applicator and fuel cell consumables using the budget allocated for these kinds of expenses. He was also be able to attract a first class researcher to his laboratory. This project also promoted the collaboration between the host, the partner, and a Canadian organization. Dr. Colpan was able to identify new areas to expand his research activities. He promoted his research field as well as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions when students from a high school and an university visited his laboratory.