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Fuel cell membrane humidification

United States Patent

September 14, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Division Website
Adiabatic Fuel Cell Stack
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
A polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell assembly has an anode side and a cathode side separated by the membrane and generating electrical current by electrochemical reactions between a fuel gas and an oxidant. The anode side comprises a hydrophobic gas diffusion backing contacting one side of the membrane and having hydrophilic areas therein for providing liquid water directly to the one side of the membrane through the hydrophilic areas of the gas diffusion backing. In a preferred embodiment, the hydrophilic areas of the gas diffusion backing are formed by sewing a hydrophilic thread through the backing. Liquid water is distributed over the gas diffusion backing in distribution channels that are separate from the fuel distribution channels.
Wilson; Mahlon S. (Los Alamos, NM)
Regents of the University of California (Los Alamos, NM)
08/ 810,119
February 24, 1997
This invention relates to fuel cells and, more particularly, to fuel cells having polymer electrolyte membranes. 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.