CMU MEMS Laboratory Publication Abstract


in Energy, pp. v. 31, no. 5, 636-649, April 2006.
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-based Micro-scale Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Development
S. C. Yao, X. Tang, C. C. Hsieh, Y. Alyousef, M. Vladimer, G. Fedder and C. H. Amon
This paper describes a high-power density, silicon-based micro-scale direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), under development at Carnegie Mellon. Major issues in the DMFC design include the water management and energy-efficient micro fluidic sub-systems. The air flow and the methanol circulation are both at a natural draft, while a passive liquid–gas separator removes CO2 from the methanol chamber. An effective approach for maximizing the DMFC energy density, pumping the excess water back to the anode, is illustrated. The proposed DMFC contains several unique features: a silicon wafer with arrays of etched holes selectively coated with a nonwetting agent for collecting water at the cathode; a silicon membrane micro pump for pumping the collected water back to the anode; and a passive liquid–gas separator for CO2 removal. All of these silicon-based components are fabricated using microelectro- mechanical systems (MEMS)-based processes on the same silicon wafer, so that interconnections are eliminated, and integration efforts as well as post-fabrication costs are both minimized. The resulting fuel cell has an overall size of one cubic inch, produces a net output of 10 mW, and has an energy density three to five times higher than that of current lithium-ion batteries.
© 2006 Elsevier. All rights reserved.
Full paper not available from outside CMU

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