In the present juncture of the energy crisis, it has become inevitable to find alternatives for the mainly exploited fossil fuels. Recent developments in the field of fuel cells have given encouraging results suggesting their possible use of replacing the conventional highly polluting, less efficient combustible engines [1
]. In this context, the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) appears to be the most promising tool to provide power to portable electronic devices. This is an electrochemical cell that has advantages such as offering a simple and easy method to store fuel, a simple design and green emissions. DMFC is a subcategory of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) in which methanol is used as fuel. The salient features of DMFCs are the ease of transport of methanol, low or zero emissions, reliability in operation and utilization of methanol directly as a fuel to convert chemical energy into electric power. These DMFCs are designed especially for portable applications, where energy and power density are more important than efficiency [3
]. A simple DMFC consists of a methanol distributor, gasket, anode, membrane, cathode, and oxygen gas distributor.
Regarding the working principles of the DMFC system, methanol is oxidized to hydrogen ions (H+
) and electrons (e-
) at the anode. The released electrons are transported from the anode to the cathode through an electrical circuit where power is withdrawn, and at the same time, the hydrogen ions travel to the cathode through the electrolyte membrane. At the cathode, both the electrons and hydrogen ions react with oxygen and produce water and heat [5
Increasing demand for clean sources of energy and sustainable energy development has led to the exploration of alternative energy. One such activity was to develop a membrane-protected anode in a fuel cell [6
]. This was conductedusingan anionic backbone of sulfonated polystyrene block–(ethylene–ran–butylene)–block polystyrene polymer on top of an anode which was used to increase the oxygen evolution. Another method developed to increase the enhancement of oxygen deposition was by selective oxidation using a cation-selective polymer material such as Nafion which improved the electrolysis and enhanced the oxygen evolution. The evolved oxygen can be used in a DMFC wherein electricity is generated [7
]. In a direct methanol fuel cell, a solution of methanol is internally reformed. This is conducted with the help of a suitable catalyst, which is then oxidized at the anode and liberates electrons and protons. Currently, the Hilbert fractal curve is used to design a DMFC [9
]. It is a continuous space-filling curve that can be applied to grids of power. These curves are used to study the current collectors of the direct methanol fuel cell.
Currently, nanostructured catalysts lead to enhanced efficiency, robustness, and reliability in energy conversion and storage systems due to their unique physicochemical and electrochemical properties [10
]. Carbon nanofiber webs have beenused as a porous methanol barrier to reduce the effect of methanol crossover in DMFCs. They have enhanced the cell performance at low methanol concentrations due to their balanced effect on reactant and product management, with an increase in peak power density compared to the conventional DMFC [11
]. A mathematical model was developed and validated in realtime, to study the transient temperature distribution across a DMFC. The model was used to study temperature distribution across passive and active DMFCs as a function of process parameters and performance parameters [12
Advanced control strategies based on methanol concentration were designed and implemented to increase the efficiency of a DMFC. This method is more efficient than performing several modifications to system layouts and operating strategies [13
]. In addition to the control of an integrated fuel processing system, the fuel cell system in a DMFC provides efficient fuel cell operation and sustainable power source for various utilities [14
In this study, a small DMFC with a 45 cm2sizedmembrane electrode assembly (MEA) was fabricated, and the effects of cell temperature on the DMFC performance were studied in simulation and in realtime.
A direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is a particular type of fuel cell that has its own merits. In this work, a direct methanol fuel cell with a 45 cm2 activation area in the MEA, and a Pt-Ru/C catalyst at the anode was fabricated and tested with the squoval-shaped manifold hole design-incorporated DMFC work station available in the laboratory. Performance of the DMFC was evaluated with different operating parameters, namely cell temperature, methanol flow rate, and methanol concentration in simulation. From the simulation results, it was concluded that cell temperature was the most influencing process variable. From the results, the optimum temperature (TCell) of the DMFC operation was identified as 333 K. Real-time experimentation was carried out with different cell temperatures, and the results were recorded. It was observed from the experimental data that the maximum power density of 57.6 mW/cm2 at 288 mA/cm2 was achieved with the said operating temperature of 333 K. With this operating temperature, the durability of the DMFC was also verified at different load currents and found to be durable.