The fuel utilization of a direct methanol fuel cell is enhanced for improved cell efficiency. Distribution plates at the anode and cathode of the fuel cell are configured to distribute reactants vertically and laterally uniformly over a catalyzed membrane surface of the fuel cell. A conductive sheet between the anode distribution plate and the anodic membrane surface forms a mass transport barrier to the methanol fuel that is large relative to a mass transport barrier for a gaseous hydrogen fuel cell. In a preferred embodiment, the distribution plate is a perforated corrugated sheet. The mass transport barrier may be conveniently increased by increasing the thickness of an anode conductive sheet adjacent the membrane surface of the fuel cell.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.