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Performance investigation of alkaline direct methanol fuel cell with commercial PGM-free cathodic materials

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Journal of Power Sources
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Since little progress has been made in investigating the performance of alkaline direct methanol fuel cells (ADMFCs) with commercial materials (including platinum group metal (PGM)-free catalysts, anion exchange ionomers (AEIs), and anion exchange membranes (AEMs)), the objective of this work is to evaluate the performance of ADMFCs with all commercial materials, in order to establish a reference against which the performance of newly developed materials can be compared. Fe-N-C catalysts, Fumasep (FAA-3-50) based AEMs, and FAA3 based AEIs are here employed, and the parameters such as of operating temperature and methanol concentration are investigated and optimized. Electrochemical measurements show a performance increase with the temperature from 40 to 60 °C, and with the methanol concentration (from 1 to 5 M); followed by insignificant decrease with the further increase to 10 M. The best performance is achieved with 5 M methanol at 60 °C, and the remarkable powder density of 48.2 mW cm−2 was demonstrated under these conditions. This work provides insight into the large-scale application of ADMFC with commercial PGM-free materials.