Integration of Vacuum on Selectively Gas Permeable Flow Field Design in Direct Formic Acid Fuel Cells

  • Steven Lam


In today’s society, as the demand for energy increases with the use of portable electronic devices, so does the need for higher power density energy sources. This problem can be solved with Direct Formic Acid Fuel Cells (DFAFC) which are a continuous energy conversion source. Formic acid is readily available, as it is a common byproduct of many industrial reactions. Formic acid electrooxidation (HCOOH -> CO2 + 2H+ +2e-) produces a gaseous byproduct (carbon dioxide, CO2) that accumulates in the DFAFC liquid serpentine flow fields disrupt the transport of formic acid through the fuel cell. Reductions in CO2 accumulation has previously been demonstrated by the Rice research group with the prototype development of a Selectively Gas Permeable Flow Field (SGPFF). The current research project proposes to further increase the amount of CO2 removal by the integration of a vacuum on the gas phase side of the permeable flow field.