Characteristics of Carbon Dioxide and Product Water Exhausts in a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell with Serpentine Channels

Abstract

This study utilized a transparent direct methanol fuel cell, with serpentine channels with a width of 2 mm and an initial depth of 2 mm, and investigated the relationship between the behaviours of carbon dioxide (CO2) slugs, product water accumulations, and voltage fluctuation. It examined the exhaust volumes of CO2 slugs and product water accumulations from the channels over time, comparing an anode channel with a depth of 1.2 mm to one with a depth of 2 mm (without changing the cathode depth of 2 mm, nor the width of 2 mm in both the anode and the cathode). Results indicated that cell voltage fluctuated, rising while CO2 slugs were ejected, and falling between ejections. In the case of an anode channel depth of 2 mm and a lower methanol-water solution flow rate, CO2 slugs were ejected less frequently, so cell voltage fluctuated widely. (Product water accumulations in the cathode had a minimum effect on this cell voltage fluctuation.) In the case of a higher methanol-water solution flow rate, CO2 slugs were ejected more frequently, with less exhaust volume per CO2 slug, reducing the fluctuation in cell voltage. Finally, with an anode channel depth of 1.2 mm, the exhaust volume per CO2 slug became even smaller, and these small CO2 slugs were rapidly ejected. With this shallow depth, the cell voltage increased with a lower methanol-water solution flow rate, but decreased with a higher methanol-water solution flow rate by crossover.

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