Effect of geometrical configurations on alkaline air-breathing membraneless microfluidic fuel cells with cylinder anodes
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Membraneless microfluidic fuel cells (MMFCs) outperform traditional membrane-based micro-fuel cells in membraneless architecture and high surface-to-volume ratio and facile integration, but still need substantial improvement in performance. The fundamental challenges are dictated by multiphysics regarding cell configurations: the interaction of fluid flow, mass transport and electrochemical reactions. We present a numerical research that investigates the effect of geometrical configurations (rod arrangement, cell length, rod diameter and spacer configuration) on the fuel transport and performance of an alkaline MMFC with cylinder anodes. Modeling results suggest that the staggered rod arrangement outperforms the in-line case by 10.1% at 50 μL min–1. Cell power output and power density vary nearly linearly with the cell length. In the case with 0.7 mm anodes and 0.3 mm spacers, the increased flow resistance at anode region drives the fuel to intrude into the spacer zone, leading to fuel transport limitation at downstream. The feasibility of non-spacer configuration is demonstrated, and the power density is 93.7% higher than the baseline due to reduced cell volume and enhanced fuel transport. In addition, horizontal extension of the anode array is found to be more favorable for scale-up, the maximum power density of 181.9 mW cm–3 is predicted. This study provides insight into the fundamental, and offers guidance to improve the cell design for promoting performance and facilitating system integration.
Keywordsmicrofluidic fuel cell cylinder anode mass transport cell configuration computational model
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