Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Bade Shrestha

Second Advisor

Dr. Iskender Sahin

Third Advisor

Dr. Jan Pekarovic

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The performance of an alkaline and direct methanol fuel cell was investigated by varying different operational parameters. An alkaline fuel cell test system was designed, assembled and used for investigation under four different electrolyte concentrations and three different levels of anode flow rates. The results of the test revealed that the efficiency of the cell increases with the increase in electrolyte concentration. A model was developed to predict the cell performance. Impedance spectroscopy has been conducted to validate the mathematical model and further investigate ohmic resistance, anode and cathode activation losses and mass transport losses. The results predicted by the model were found in good agreement with the corresponding experimental data.

The performance of a direct methanol fuel cell was investigated under five different methanol concentrations. Similar to the alkaline fuel cell, impedance spectroscopy was conducted to measure the ohmic, activation and mass transport losses for all concentrations. The cell performance was then evaluated using methane and ethanol as fuels and was compared with methanol operation. A model to predict the performance of direct methanol fuel cells has been developed and the results predicted by the model were in good agreement with experimental data.

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