Effective and Practical Anode for MEMS Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
As a fuel, methanol could provide high efficiency, low emissions, and convenient refueling. Methanol fuel cells, based on MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) technology, have the potential to realize better heat and mass transport because of their extremely small size. In order to build an effective MEMS fuel cell, it is necessary to optimize the electro-kinetic performance of the catalyst layer. Therefore, this project will develop a novel and practical microelectrode that utilizes carbon nanotubes in a flexible, catalytically-active polymer film. This will be accomplished by producing ultra-thin, flexible, and catalytically active nanotube-polymer composite films as a novel and practical way to fabricate fuel cell electrodes. With this microelectrode, a MEMS fuel cell could be rapidly assembled, and its properties and performance could be assessed. In Phase I, an ultra-thin microelectrode will be developed by reacting selective chemical species with well aligned carbon nanotubes. The interaction of the electrode with the surrounding media, particularly with the proton conducting membranes and metal catalysts, will be improved, and the novel electrode will be durable and flexible. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Direct-methanol MEMS fuel cells should provide high power density in a very small package. Such a power source is required for wireless sensor arrays, chip cards, and dozens of other miniaturized applications, which are currently limited by currently-available button cells and batteries. The novel electrode should make fuel cell systems more practical for use in portable electronics. The use of methanol provides high efficiency, low emissions, and fast and convenient refueling. The nanotube-polymer technology also should have application to structural materials, controlled release of specialty chemicals, catalysis, membranes, electronics, photovoltaic cells, batteries, and sensors.
Small Business Information at Submission:
MER Corporation (Materials and Electrochemical Research)
7960 South Kolb Road Tucson, AZ 85706
Number of Employees: