Mixed Reactant Fuel Cell

Conventional fuel cells feed a fuel and an oxidant separately into distinct zones of the fuel cell. This requires specialized, costly materials and components to maintain the physical separation of the reactants. A key component to achieve this in conventional low temperature fuel cells is the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). Another such component typical in fuel cell stacks is the bipolar plate. Mixed reactant fuel cells allow the fuel and oxidant to be fed together directly into the fuel cell. This offers the benefit of reducing system complexity, and thus potentially system costs, of the fuel cell. However, most known mixed reactant fuel cell systems have either shown poor performance and/or are systems that can only operate under very specific conditions or with limited fuel types. A new, improved mixed reactant fuel cell design is being developed at The University of British Columbia that offers a broadly applicable and flexible system for a variety of conditions and fuel types. Compared to reported mixed-reactant fuel cells that have been demonstrated (not just theorized) this novel technology has combined features that result in a compact mixed-reactant bipolar fuel cell stack with low internal resistance that operates in the flow-by mode without bipolar plates and in which thermal (overheating) and water management issues are relatively minor. The added benefit of a simplified balance of plant is in keeping with that expected from a mixed-reactant fuel cell. The invention thus allows low temperature fuel cells to operate without a PEM, and a fuel cell stack to operate in a bipolar mode without the need for bipolar plates. Advantages:

Operates using a mixed reactant feed of fuel and oxidant

Simplified fuel cell design and balance of plant

Low temperature fuel cells without PEMs

Bipolar operation without bipolar plates

Type of Offer: Licensing

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