A hydrophilic-hydrophobic dual-layer microporous layer enabling the improved water management of direct methanol fuel cells operating with neat methanol

X. H. Yan, T. S. Zhao, G. Zhao, Liang An, X. L. Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Passive direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) operating with neat methanol can achieve the maximum system energy density. However, the anodic methanol oxidation reaction requires reactant water, which is completely supplied by water generated at the cathode, causing the system to experience a critical issue known as water starvation. A solution to this problem involves increasing the water recovery flux to meet the rate of water consumption of the anodic reaction, and increase the local water concentration as high as possible at the anode catalyst layer (CL) to improve the anodic kinetics. In the present work, a new microporous layer (MPL) consisting of a hydrophilic layer and a hydrophobic layer is proposed. The purposes of these two layers are to, respectively, trap and retain water and to create capillary pressure to prevent water loss. Our experiments have shown that the use of this novel MPL at the anode and cathode can increase the rate of water recovery and water retention, resulting in an increase in the local water concentration. As a result, the use of this dual-layer MPL to either electrode of a passive DMFC operating with neat methanol leads to a significant performance boost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Direct methanol fuel cells
  • Fuel cells
  • Neat methanol operation
  • Water starvation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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