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Performance evaluation of a proof-of-concept 70 W internal reforming methanol fuel cell system

: Avgouropoulos, G.; Schlicker, Sebastian; Schelhaas, Karl-Peter; Papavasiliou, J.; Papadimitriou, K.D.; Theodorakopoulou, E.; Gourdoupi, N.; MacHocki, A.; Ioannides, T.; Kallitsis, J.K.; Kolb, Gunther; Neophytides, S.


Journal of power sources 307 (2016), pp.875-882
ISSN: 0378-7753
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ICT-IMM ()
high temperature; PEM; fuel cells; hydrogen; internal reforming; steam reforming

A proof-of-concept 70 W Internal Reforming Methanol Fuel Cell (IRMFC) stack including Balance-of-Plant (BoP) was designed, assembled and tested. Advent TPS® high-temperature, polymer electrolyte membrane electrode assemblies were employed for fuel cell operation at 200 °C. In order to avoid phosphoric acid poisoning of the reformer, the anode electrocatalyst of each cell was indirectly adjoined, via a separation plate, to a highly active CuMnAlOx catalyst coated onto copper foam, which served as methanol reforming layer. The reformer was in-situ converting the methanol/steam feed to the required hydrogen (internal reforming concept) at 200 °C, which was readily oxidized at the anode electrodes. The operation of the IRMFC was supported through a number of BoP components consisting of a start-up subsystem (air blower, evaporator and monolithic burner), a combined afterburner/evaporator device, methanol/water supply and data acquisition units (reactants/products analysis, temperature control, flow control, system load/output control). Depending on the composition of the liquid MeOH/H2O feed streams, current densities up to 0.18 A cm−2 and power output up to 70 W could be obtained with remarkable repeatability. Specific targets for improvement of the efficiency were identified.