Scaling and Manufacturing of Laminar Flow-Based Fuel Cells

Thursday, November 11, 2010: 4:15 PM
Grand Ballroom H (Marriott Downtown)
Adam S. Hollinger, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, Larry J. Markoski, INI Power Systems, Morrisville, NC and Paul J.A. Kenis, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL

Since the development of laminar flow-based fuel cells (LFFCs), many different configurations, fuels, and media have been successfully established [1,2]. More recently, our group has created a similar microfluidic fuel cell as an analytical platform for catalyst and electrode characterization and optimization [3]. For LFFCs to be successfully integrated into a fuel cell-based power source, LFFCs must be scaled out and manufactured effectively. The power output of a single-channel cell is inadequate for most power applications, but multichannel cells and stacked cells can address these power needs. To date, most LFFCs have been proof-of-concept unit cells. Here we will demonstrate a fourteen channel cell at various fuel concentrations and flow rates [4].

Presently, membrane-based fuel cells are assembled manually in layer-by-layer fashion followed by clamping the layers between metal plates. Scaling to larger fuel cell systems typically involves the stacking of more and more layers, requiring heavier and heavier clamping constructions to keep the stack together without leaks. Here we will demonstrate an alternative approach to fuel cell manufacturing which utilizes patterned polymer layers to eliminate the heavy metal clamping structures needed in traditional fuel cell stacks. This approach results in much smaller, lighter structures and enables thinner cell stacks, which is attractive for portable electronic equipment.

[1] E. Kjeang, N. Djilali and D. Sinton, Journal of Power Sources, 2 (2009) 353-369.

[2] F.R. Brushett, R.S. Jayashree, W.P. Zhou, P.J.A. Kenis, Electrochemica Acta, 2009, 54 (27), 7099-7105.

[3] F.R. Brushett, W.P. Zhou, R. S. Jayashree, P.J.A. Kenis, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2009, 156 (5), B565-571.

[4] A.S. Hollinger, R.J. Maloney, R.S. Jayashree, D. Natarajan, L.J. Markoski, P.J.A. Kenis, Journal of Power Sources, 2010, 195 (11), 3523-3528.

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See more of this Session: Fuel Cell Technology II
See more of this Group/Topical: Fuels and Petrochemicals Division