78 Scopus citations


A novel convective flow membraneless microfluidic fuel cell with porous disk electrodes is described. In this fuel cell design, the fuel flows radially outward through a thin disk shaped anode and across a gap to a ring shaped cathode. An oxidant is introduced into the gap between anode and cathode and advects radially outward to the cathode. This fuel cell differs from previous membraneless designs in that the fuel and the oxidant flow in series, rather than in parallel, enabling independent control over the fuel and oxidant flow rate and the electrode areas. The cell uses formic acid as a fuel and potassium permanganate as the oxidant, both contained in a sulfuric acid electrolyte. The flow velocity field is examined using microscale particle image velocimetry and shown to be nearly axisymmetric and steady. The results show that increasing the electrolyte concentration reduces the cell Ohmic resistance, resulting in larger maximum currents and peak power densities. Increasing the flow rate delays the onset of mass transport and reduces Ohmic losses resulting in larger maximum currents and peak power densities. An average open circuit potential of 1.2 V is obtained with maximum current and power densities of 5.35 mA cm-2 and 2.8 mW cm-2, respectively (cell electrode area of 4.3 cm2). At a flow rate of 100 μL min-1 a fuel utilization of 58% is obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 2008


  • Formic acid fuel cell
  • Laminar flow fuel cell
  • Membraneless fuel cell
  • Microfluidic fuel cell
  • Porous electrode
  • Sequential flow

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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