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Small Fuel Cells 2010: Portable & Micro Fuel Cells & Hybrid Devices for Commercial & Military Applications - 12th Annual International Conference Webcast and Documentation
Knowledge Press, April 2010, Pages: 626
In its 12th year, Small Fuel Cells - "Portable & Micro Fuel Cells & Hybrid Devices for Commercial & Military Applications" - is a primary source of information for end-users, developers and manufacturers of portable power devices. With an impressive lineup of speakers from around the world, and industry leaders exhibiting the latest technologies, this year's conference is not to be missed.
Program topics include:
- Commercial success of small fuel cells: DMFC, PEM, SOFC, direct borohydride
- Advances in fuel development
- Portable fuel cells for military & commercial applications
- Micro fuel cells for mobile electronics
- Hybrid portable power systems
- System integration & balance of plant engineering
- Materials challenges and use of materials-by-design approach
- Role of nanotechnology & nanomaterials
- End-user and OEM perspective on manufacturing & applications
- Safety, durability & reliability
DMFC - I
Commercializing DMFCs for Mobile, Hybrid and Off-Grid Applications
Peter Podesser, PhD, CEO, SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG, Germany
The flexibility, portability and minimal footprint of fuel cells are feeding a rapidly growing global market for these systems, with an increasing emphasis on smaller sizes, hybridization and off-grid reliability. SFC Smart Fuel Cell, which has shipped more than 15,000 commercial products in the past five years, will provide insight into the growing number of commercial and defense applications for fuel cells, including new products and markets as well as latest developments.
Power Performance and Environmental Reliability of 25W DMFC System for Soldier Power Application
Hyuk Chang, PhD, SAIT Vice President; and Marc Lefebvre, SAIT, Samsung Electronics, Korea*
Compact and powerful DMFC stack was integrated with environmentally reliable BOP components such as fuel recycler, fuel cartridge, heat exchanger in the robust system architecture. In this presentation, technical data of high density stack and the unique system components design for the environmental reliability will be discussed. This system passed the ultimate power load and the outdoor environmental test, which showed 550Wh/kg of power density and met the 5 environmental standards for the application to a soldier application. Evaluation results operated at CERDEC will be also discussed.
*In collaboration with: Inseob Song, Samsung SDI; and CERDEC, US Army
Integrated Flow Field Development for Portable Fuel Cells
Eugene S. Smotkin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, NuVant Systems; and Professor of Materials Chemistry, Northeastern University
Liquid feed fuel cells typically use flow fields and diffusion layers adopted from the hydrogen air fuel cell community. A liquid feed anode flow field diffusion layer system will be discussed that combines the form and function of several components from hydrogen air fuel cell technology.
Development of Porous Silicon Based Fuel Cells for Portable Applications
Tsali Cross, PhD, Vice President – Engineering, Neah Power Systems, Inc.
A new approach to DMFC design has been developed by Neah Power Systems that uses a porous silicon, catalyst-supporting electrode structure and liquid fuel, electrolyte, and oxidant. Neah Power’s architecture and use of liquid electrolyte creates a high surface area reaction zone that generates industry leading power densities of 180mW/cm2. Neah Power has demonstrated a portable prototype and continues to make technological and reliability advances for their silicon-based DMFC technology.
Novel LPG Powered Portable Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Based on Planar Technology
Mareike Schneider, PhD, Dept of Micro and Energy Systems, Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems - Fraunhofer IKTS, Germany
Within the last months IKTS made significant advances in developing a portable SOFC system. The fuel cell is based on the IKTS planar technology and powered by LPG. The talk will present the recent status of system development. This comprises the packaging concept for the efficient use of thermal energy, component performance and system testing results.
DMFC - II
Integration of Gas Diffusion Layer and Catalyst in the Anode of DMPEM Micro Fuel Cells
Horacio R. Corti, PhD, Research Group Leader, Dept of Chemistry, National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina - CNEA, Republic of Argentina
We will describe a new carbon mesoporous material with hierarchical pore structure able to act as GDL and catalyst support for anodic catalysts in direct methanol micro fuel cells. Mesoporous Pt-Ru catalysts can be electrodeposited on this mesoporous carbon in the form of a thin film from a template structure. A complete electrochemical characterization of the GDL-catalysts assembly is given, as well as its performance in a single cell prototype.
Design & Characteristics of a Passive DMFC for Portable Electronics
Ravindra Datta, PhD, Professor and Director, Fuel Cell Center, Dept of Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Design and development of a truly passive, air-breathing, orientation-independent, compact DMFC fueled by neat methanol for low wattage portable power for consumer or military applications has proved elusive. Based on a theoretical understanding, this presentation discusses the factors and characteristics required for the design and optimal performance of a passive DMFC that can effectively compete with rapidly improving Li-ion batteries. Our efforts toward development of such a DMFC are described.
Micro-DMFC System for Small Applications with Methanol Vapor Feed and Fully Passive Operation
Christopher Hebling, PhD, Head of Department Energy Technology, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany*
To reduce the complexity and the size of the DMFC system as well as to enhance the system energy density, the development of a state-of-the-art planar vapor-fed DMFC (vDMFC) with fully passive operation on both anode and cathode will be discussed. Pure methanol is stored in a wick and delivered as vapor phase through a passive evaporator to the anode. At laboratory conditions, the vDMFC can yield comparable power as traditional air-breathing liquid DMFCs with ca. 20 mW/cm².
*In collaboration with: X.Tian, T.Jungmann, G.Pistorius, G.Ammon, U.Groos, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, A.Dyck, FWB GmbH
Novel MEAs with High Catalyst Utilization and High Performance Membranes for Portable Fuel Cells
Madeleine Odgaard, CEO, IRD Fuel Cells LLC/IRD Fuel Cells A/S, Denmark
Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are a promising class of electrochemical energy production devices aimed for personal electronics, portable power, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and military applications markets. IRD Fuel Cells, LLC has designed and demonstrated novel MEAs with high catalyst utilization and high performance membranes aimed and differentiated for the above mentioned markets.
Novel High Power Density, High Fuel Efficiency, Low Degradation DMFC using Neat Methanol
Jim Prueitt, Vice President of Engineering, MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc.*
Standard technology for portable direct methanol fuel cells employ the use of pools of methanol to create a vapor method to feed the fuel, or utilize circulated low molar solutions to dilute methanol with water. The challenges for the use of pools of methanol are low power density from the MEA, low methanol utilization, high methanol crossover and high membrane/ catalyst degradation. The challenges for the circulated low molar solutions of methanol and water are system complexity, high system cost, and difficulty to scale system down to sub 5W power levels. MTI Micro Fuel Cells Inc. continues to develop direct methanol fuel cell systems that utilize neat methanol as the fuel. The design capability achieves high power density, high fuel efficiency, low degradation while using neat methanol. Additional features of the fuel cell system approach yield a high performance capability over a broad range of environmental conditions. During the course of this presentation, MTI Micro Fuel Cells will discuss its novel system approach that allows it to meet these achievements.
*In collaboration with: Chuck Carlstrom
PEM, Hydrogen, Borohydride, Hybrid
Celtec®-P High Temperature MEAs Making a Difference in Commercial and Military Applications
Emory S. De Castro, PhD, Executive Vice President, BASF Fuel Cell Inc.
The Celtec-P high temperature membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is considered a hybrid of the well-established phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) technology and polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC). Based on polybenzimidazole imbibed with phosphoric acid, the Celtec-P series of MEAs combines the advantages of PAFC such as dry operation at 160-180 degrees C with the manufacturing simplicity of a PEFC MEA that can be easily downscaled from kilowatts to tens of watts. These advantages are well matched to military missions and commercial applications. This presentation will focus on how the Celtec-P MEA is being applied in meeting advanced military objectives ranging from battery chargers to flight and also introduces material advances in the Celtec-P product line targeted towards military specifications.
Light Weight 12W PEM Fuel Cell System for UAVs
Robert Hahn, PhD, Group Manager, Portable Power Supply, Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration - Fraunhofer IZM, Germany
A fuel cell system based on PEM fuel cells and a NaBH4 hydrogen cartridge was developed for a mini helicopter. A light weight fuel cell stack with passive thermal management for a 12 W hydrogen PEM fuel cell was developed. This was achieved with help of a Bi-cell design were the fuel cells are separated with air spacers which allow to use the air flow of the rotors for cooling and cathode supply. The construction based on thin wall polymer flow channels and aluminum metal foil current collectors resulted in very low weight. Hydrogen was produced at nearly constant rate in an unregulated NaBH4 cartridge with help of a cobalt catalyst. The reaction is started by injection of water into the cartridge. The catalyst-NaBH4 powder was optimized to achieve a hydrogen burst at the start which activates the fuel cell within seconds and raises the temperature of the cartridge to the operation range of ca. 70°C. Than equilibrium conditions are maintained during flight time. The hydrogen cartridge performance was optimized with help of numerical calculations which is based on a zero order model. Catalyst and water mass as well as starting temperature has to be kept in close tolerances to achieve the desired hydrogen rate. The system was demonstrated with a quad rotor helicopter. A power density between 60 and 160 W/kg can be achieved for the complete system depending on the size of the fuel cell cartridge.
High Power Density Fuel Cell Test Fixture
Benjamin Lunt, Scott Blanchet, and James C. Cross III, Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc.
Comparative screening of different electrochemical packages (which include membranes, electrocatalysts and their supports, ionomers, microporous layers, and gas diffusion media) for use in PEM fuel cell applications requires a standardized test fixture. These fixtures are of central importance in materials development and fuel cell stack performance and durability optimization. Conventional fixtures have active areas of 5-50 cm2, and are based on graphite bipolar plates with a serpentine channel and land architectures. While these fixtures have been a workhorse of the industry for many years, they have two shortcomings with respect to state of the art materials: (1) Distortion of gradients, and (2) Restricted power densities due to diffusion limits. In this talk we will present an innovative new fixture addressing these issues.
Fuel Cell 300W Hybrid System
Paolo Fracas, CEO, GENPORT spin-off of Politecnico of Milan srl, Italy
Portable hybrid power systems is a promising concept to temporary produce electric energy in any off grid remote context, providing continuous peak and constant power without external fuel, thermal signature and noise. Genport will introduce a sheltered hybrid 300 watt power source, comprising a primary source of energy based on retractable photovoltaic panels, integrated with a PEM fuel cell and a PEM electrolyzer. The result is an innovative system that has enough power capacity to fulfill the load demand of a small tactical communications system utilized in rapid military deployment. This concept is also suitable as APU for small yacht allowing ocean navigation as well as to temporary power emergency electro medical devices, in an area devastated by natural disaster. There are many possible configuration of the energy flow among the primary PV energy generator, the PEMFC, the PEM electrolyzer and the load; when the daylight is available the retractable PV panel powers directly the load and exceeding energy charges the battery bank or is utilized to feed the PEM electrolyzer to convert and store additional energy in hydrogen; if the adsorption of energy exceeds the capacity of the expandable PV panel or in case of a power failure, the battery bank and the PEMFC can dynamically contribute to strike an energy balance.
New Cost Effective Type of Fuel Cell Charger
Anders Lundblad, PhD, CTO, myFC AB, Sweden
One of the biggest challenges today with small fuel cell devices is the problem to miniaturize their valves and connectors. Even if small components can be developed it is then difficult to reach cost goals for the device as a whole. For this reason myFC has developed a charger where the need for a gas tight connector or valve is completely eliminated. This charger uses a teabag-type fuel pouch which reacts with water when being immersed in a reaction cup of about 40 ml. The reaction cup is integrated in the device and therefore only a simple o-ring seal of the reaction cup is needed. The charger is a hybrid system with a battery which can be charged or discharged depending on if the power demand is higher or lower than what the fuel cell can deliver. The biggest advantage of this new charger is that a low cost charger is combined with a low cost fuel, which also has a long shelf life. The first market will be the outdoor and recreational market, targeting among others hikers, hunters and sport fishers. The long term market for this charger consists of the approx. 1 billon people in development countries having access to mobile communication, but lacking access to the electricity grid. This talk will present performance data and consumer cost calculations.
Applicability of a High Performance Stack in Low Power Applications
James C. Cross III, Chris Ainscough, and Amedeo Conti, Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc.
There are two key cost reduction strategies for PEM fuel cells that must be simultaneously pursued to achieve next generation costs targets: (1) reducing precious group metal catalyst loadings, and (2) increasing areal power density. To this end, Nuvera is working with DOE and partners in pursuit of a performance value metric of 7.5 W/mg Pt (~3X higher than the current state of the art) in a low pressure, full-scale stack. In this talk, we will explore opportunities for scaling this stack architecture for lower power applications (25 to 500 Watts), including consequences at the system level.
Hydrogen, PEM, Borohydride, Components
SiGNa Chemistry Hydrogen Generation System for Portable Fuel Cells
Andrew P. Wallace, Director of the Alternative Energy Research Center, SiGNa Chemistry, Inc.
SiGNa Chemistry will present system implementation methods for the use of sodium silicide in portable fuel cells. This low-pressure, low-weight, multi-start technology has been demonstrated in applications ranging from cell phone rechargers to electric bicycles. Designs, test results, and performance metrics will be shown for hydrogen fuel cell applications ranging from 1 to 300 Watts.
Compact High Energy Density Hydrogen Generation System
Daniel A. Betts, PhD, Director, EnerFuel, a subsidiary of Ener1, Inc.
Glycerol reformation is hampered by its difficult oxidation. We present a solution that uses the sodium-borohydride glycerol alcoholysis reaction heat to promote a glycerol steam reforming reaction. A stream of mixed sodium-borohydride, water, and glycerol is introduced into a reactor that first promotes the exothermic alcoholysis and then the endothermic steam reforming reaction. The result is a hydrogen production system with the potential to be compact and very energy dense.
Porous Metal Substrates for Hydrogen Purification
William Gleason, PhD, Assistant Professor & Newmont Lab Director, Center for Advanced Mineral and Metallurgical Processing, Montana Tech – The University of Montana
Rapid prototyping techniques are being used to produce high-quality, porous metal parts to be used for miniature hydrogen purification membranes. The parts are sintered to impart the necessary mechanical properties and palladium coated using an electroless palladium reduction process. Preliminary work has shown the surface attachment to be controllable, stable and effective in hydrogen purification. The process also holds promise for catalytic structures.
Nanoscale Performance Characterization of Fuel Cells using Advanced Scanning Probe Microscopy
Shijie Wu, PhD, Senior Applications Scientist, Agilent Technologies, Inc.*
We will describe the work of using advanced scanning probe microscopy techniques such as current sensing atomic force microscopy for characterizing the performance of membrane electrode assembly. The technique is particularly useful for characterizing and investigating the performance of ion exchange membranes at nanometer scales. Our most recent results which reveal the changes in proton channels of Nafion membranes will be presented. The possibility of applying the techniques to the development of miniature fuel cells will be discussed.
*In collaboration with: Osung Kwon, and Da-Ming Zhu, Dept of Physics, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Progress in DBFC and Integration of Alternative Pt-free Electrocatalysts
Audrey Martinent-Beaumont, PhD, R&D Engineer, LITEN/DTNM/LCH, French Atomic Energy Commission - CEA, France
Currently, the main challenge for the fuel cell commercialization (regardless of the power level) is a significant reduction in cost of fuel cell core materials, more specifically in the catalysts for active electrode layers. In this context an alkaline fuel cell fed by borohydride liquid fuel (DBFC - direct borohydride fuel cell) has been developed with using catalysts that are much less expensive than the currently used platinum-based ones. Thermally treated cobalt macrocycles have been integrated into the cathode side, while palladium nanoparticles or bimetallic nanoparticles have been prepared using microemulsion technique for a use on the anode side. This ‘Pt-free’ DBFC reached 140 mW/cm2 under normal conditions (natural air, room temperature and normal humidity).
Advances in Compact High-Power-Density Direct Borohydride Fuel Cells
George H. Miley, PhD, Professor, Dept of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign