The flowing electrolyte-direct methanol fuel cell is a developing technology that may have practical uses in the future. Its main advantage over a direct methanol fuel cell is that it limits methanol crossover using a flowing electrolyte layer. The flowing electrolyte layer (or flowing electrolyte channel) involves an ion-conducting fluid that allows protons to be transported from the anode to the cathode, and flows through a porous material to wash away crossed-over methanol. In this study, the flowing electrolyte layer is modelled as a porous domain in ANSYS CFX. General flow behaviour and the effects of volume flux, channel thickness, and porous material properties are investigated. It is found that the flow has a flattened velocity profile with thin boundary layers that are virtually independent of volume flux and channel thickness. The pressure drop is mainly dependent on the volume flux and the permeability. It is recommended that cell performance could be improved by using a flowing electrolyte channel that is thinner, and selecting a sufficiently high volume flux and a sufficiently permeable porous material to achieve an optimal combination of pressure drop and methanol removal characteristics.

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Keywords Flowing electrolyte-direct methanol fuel cell Flowing electrolyte channel Computational fluid dynamics Hydrodynamic modelling Porous material Permeability
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Journal International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Duivesteyn, E. (Eric), Cruickshank, C, & Matida, E. (2013). Modelling of a porous flowing electrolyte layer in a flowing electrolyte direct-methanol fuel cell. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 38(30), 13434–13442. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.08.017