Development and Investigation of Performance of Alkaline Bio-fuel Cell

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Helsinki University of Technology | Diplomityö
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Date
2006
Department
Kemian tekniikan osasto
Major/Subject
Tehdassuunnittelu|Lämpötekniikka ja koneoppi
Mcode
Kem-107|Ene-39
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
85
Series
Abstract
The principle of fuel cells was discovered over 160 years ago by Sit: William Grove. Until recently, their use was confirmed to the laboratory and to exotic applications - such as space travel - where they provide electricity, heat and water, and have done so since the 1960s when they were chosen over riskier, less reliable options. But the technology was immature and so far too expensive for terrestrial applications. Recently, interest in fuel cells has increased sharply and progress towards commercialisation has accelerated. Today, practical fuel cell systems are becoming available and are expected to take a growing share of markets for automotive power, and generation equipment once costs fall to competitive levels. The manufacturing and developing of fuel cells by using of noble metal catalyst and pure hydrogen gas are the key issues in the commercialisation of the technology. Many organizations and research institutes around the world are involved in developing and producing cost-effective fuel cells. The present work involves a novel approach to respond to one of the challenges in the development of low-cost alkaline fuel cells. Development of alkaline bio-fuel cell is based on using of glucose as a bio-fuel. As a part of it, the performance of the fuel cell was evaluated with different electrolytes - including potassium hydroxide (KOH) and polymer and the mixture of KOH, glucose and polymer - and glucose solution as a fuel to study the effect of voltage generation and amount of current drawn through the fuel cell. Furthermore, the effect of oxidation of glucose with different concentrations was studied by Pt/Pd catalyst with and without diffusion layer. The performance of the fuel cell was investigated by means of polarization-curve, showing the relation between drop in voltage across the fuel cell and current density reached. In order to assess the oxidation of fuel at an anode, experiments were performed with the half-cell, purposefully with Pt/Pd catalyst without diffusion layer. The objective was to study oxidation of glucose in presence of various conditions to achieve 1.0 A current, thus, demonstrating technical viability with appropriate stability of voltage. Based on experiments, an electrolyte mixture of KOH and glucose was found out giving very promising results with maximum 2.98 A current, and without any supply of fresh fuel. Furthermore, the importance of research in such kind of alkaline bio-fuel cell is emphasized and concluded with feasibility to emerge it as a commercial technology in the future.
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Supervisor
Hurme, Markku|Lampinen, Markku
Thesis advisor
Anttila, Tomi
Rantanen, Jyri
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