Microfluidic fuel cells as microscale power sources and analytical platforms

Fikile R. Brushett, Adam S. Hollinger, Larry J. Markoski, Paul J.A. Kenis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A continuously growing need for high energy density miniaturized power sources for portable electronic applications has spurred the development of a variety of microscale fuel cells. For portable applications, membrane-based fuel cells using small organic fuels (i.e., methanol, formic acid) are among the most promising configurations as they benefit from the high energy density and easy storage of the liquid fuels. Unfortunately, the performance of these fuel cells is often hindered by membrane-related issues such as water management (i.e., electrode dry-out / flooding) and fuel crossover. Furthermore, high costs of, for example, catalysts and membranes as well as durability concerns still hinder commercialization efforts. To address these challenges we have developed membraneless laminar flow-based fuel cells (LFFCs), which exploit microscale transport phenomena (laminar flow) to compartmentalize streams within a single microchannel. The properties of various fuel and media flexible LFFCs will be presented and novel strategies for improving fuel utilization and power density will be discussed. Furthermore, the performance of a scaled-out 14-channel LFFC prototype is presented. We have also developed a microfluidic fuel cell as a powerful analytical platform to investigate and optimize the complex processes that govern the performance of catalysts and electrodes in an operating fuel cell. This platform bridges the gap between a conventional 3-electrode electrochemical cell and a fuel cell, as it allows for standard electrochemical analysis (e.g., CV, CA, EIS) as well as fuel cell analysis (e.g., IV curves).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009
Pages247-252
Number of pages6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 12 2010
EventASME 2009 Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009 - Shanghai, China
Duration: Dec 18 2009Dec 21 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009
Volume2

Other

OtherASME 2009 Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009
CountryChina
CityShanghai
Period12/18/0912/21/09

Keywords

  • Electrode characterization
  • Laminar flow
  • LFFC
  • Membraneless fuel cell
  • Microfluidic fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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  • Cite this

    Brushett, F. R., Hollinger, A. S., Markoski, L. J., & Kenis, P. J. A. (2010). Microfluidic fuel cells as microscale power sources and analytical platforms. In Proceedings of the ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009 (pp. 247-252). (Proceedings of the ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference 2009, MNHMT2009; Vol. 2). https://doi.org/10.1115/MNHMT2009-18007