Overview of Direct Liquid Oxidation Fuel Cells and its Application as Micro-Fuel Cells

  • R. Oliveira
  • J. Santander
  • R. RegoEmail author


Direct liquid fuel cells (DLFCs) are a special type of FCs that generate power output through the electro-oxidation of liquid fuels easier to handle and store than the hydrogen gas used in traditional FCs, thus increasing the range of possible applications. As electronic devices continue to evolve at the macroscale (mobile phones, laptops) and at the micro-scale (micro-electromechanical systems, wearables, and implantable devices), micro-fuel cells (μFCs) are considered as a promising alternatives to batteries as power sources.

In this chapter, the development of low-temperature micro-direct liquid fuel cells (μDLFCs) operating with methanol, ethanol, formic acid, ethylene glycol, glycerol, or glucose as fuel is reviewed, covering structural design, membranes and catalysts used, and power output performance.

The key limitations for world-wide commercialization of μDLFCs include the fabrication process, water management, fuel crossover through the membranes, and the low activity/durability/selectivity of the catalysts. At present, the state-of-the-art power output is about 100, 58.0, 45.0, 30.3, 39.5, and 0.0063 mW cm−2 for methanol, ethanol, formic acid, ethylene glycol, glycerol, and glucose as fuel in μFCs, respectively.

Future research prospects in this field regarding each of these fuels are presented, confirming the μDLFC potential to replace traditional batteries in most portable applications.


Direct liquid fuel cells (DLFCs) Micro-direct liquid fuel cells (μDLFCs) Portable devices DLFC designs Micro and nano technologies (MNTs) Passive or active μDLFCs Catalysts Electrodes Membranes Membraneless Liquid fuels electro-oxidation μDMFC μDEFC μDFAFC μDEGFC μDGlyFC Implanted direct glucose fuel cell μDGFC Porous Pt electrodes μDLFC power density output 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CQ-VR, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona, IMB-CNM (CSIC), Campus UABBellaterra (Barcelona)Spain
  3. 3.Chemistry Department and CQ-VRUniversity of TrÃs-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal

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