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Methods of conditioning direct methanol fuel cells

United States Patent

6,962,760
November 8, 2005
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Division Website
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Methods of Conditioning Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Methods for conditioning the membrane electrode assembly of a direct methanol fuel cell ("DMFC") are disclosed. In a first method, an electrical current of polarity opposite to that used in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is passed through the anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly. In a second method, methanol is supplied to an anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, allowed to cross over the polymer electrolyte membrane of the membrane electrode assembly to a cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, and an electrical current of polarity opposite to that in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is drawn through the membrane electrode assembly, wherein methanol is oxidized at the cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly while the catalyst on the anode surface is reduced. Surface oxides on the direct methanol fuel cell anode catalyst of the membrane electrode assembly are thereby reduced.
Rice; Cynthia (Newington, CT), Ren; Xiaoming (Menands, NY), Gottesfeld; Shimshon (Niskayuna, NY)
The Regents of the University of California (Los Alamos, NM)
10/ 460,452
20040191584
June 12, 2003
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract Number W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The Government has certain rights in the invention.