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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R16419/01
Title: New Anodes For the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
Principal Investigator: Scott, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Roy, Professor S Christensen, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
ICI Johnson Matthey
Department: Chemical Engineering & Advanced Material
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 August 2001 Ends: 30 September 2004 Value (£): 181,553
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Fuel Cell Technologies
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Energy
Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The aim of this research is the design, fabrication, electrochemical testing and engineering evaluation of direct methanol fuel cell electrodes based on electrocatalyst coated expanded metal and mini mesh structures. In operation the liquid feed DMFC oxidises an aqueous methanol solution, in conjunction with the reduction of oxygen to water and carbon dioxide is released as a gas from the anode structure. The current structure of the anode is far from suitable for the transport and release of carbon dioxide gas from the electrode and results in considerable hydrodynamic and mass transport limitations for methanol at the anode. This in turn leads to significant electrode polarisation when medium to low methanol concentrations are used. In the sister technology of gas evolving electrolysers issues of polarisation and poor mass transport are resolved by using electrodes that are typically expanded metal, or mesh, with electrocatalyst coatings in contact with the membrane. The research will investigate electrocatalyst deposition onto mesh and expanded metal substrates and fabrication of fuel cells thereof. The electrocatalytic properties of the anode will be studied using a range of electrochemical and spectroscopic methods. Power performance and stability of the cells will be studied. The data will be used to generate a mathematical model of the cell.The technological benefits that could arise from this avenue of research are higher power densities, more flexible operation- greater range of methanol concentrations accessible, relatively simple anode fabrication- expanded metals and coated anode manufacturers are well established and more versatile cell design based on thin, lightweight metal components- material and conductivity limitations of the carbon cloth and bipolar plate can be eliminated.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk