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WIREs Energy Environ.
Impact Factor: 3.297

Development of porous silicon based direct methanol fuel cells with nitric acid as liquid oxidant for portable applications

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Energy intensive applications for long running, portable power (0–200 W) military, first‐responder, and consumer electronics applications have driven the need for development of alternative energy sources such as direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC's). These methanol fuel cells can serve a large range of applications from portable applications for consumer, industrial and military applications, to distributed energy generation and storage. A new and unique approach to DMFC design has been developed by Neah Power Systems that uses a porous silicon, catalyst‐supporting electrode structure and circulating liquid fuel, electrolyte, and oxidant. Neah Power's silicon‐based architecture and use of liquid electrolyte creates a three dimensional reaction zone that is able to generate industry leading power densities of greater than 180 mW/cm2. Neah Power has demonstrated a portable, DMFC prototype from their ground‐breaking porous silicon‐based technology. The versatility of the architecture has been proven by operating the fuel cell using a variety of liquid and gaseous oxidants, as well as methanol and formic acid‐based fuels. This silicon‐based design can be manufactured using standard semiconductor processing techniques, and has the potential to deliver low‐cost, portable power systems exhibiting high energy density and reliable operation in a broad range of environmental conditions. WIREs Energy Environ 2015, 4:189–195. doi: 10.1002/wene.127 This article is categorized under: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen > Science and Materials Energy Infrastructure > Science and Materials Energy Systems Economics > Science and Materials
Scanning electron micrographs of porous three‐dimensional porous silicon honeycomb electrode structure. Angled view of top surface and side profile at (a) 506×, and (b) 809× magnifications.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Performance for typical operation of demonstration system.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Polarization of a single (30 mm form factor) methanol–nitric fuel cell.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

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