Project: Next Generation DMFC APU (Direct Methanol Fuel Cell - Auxiliary Power Unit)

The need for development of new energy systems worldwide is tremendous. Increasing oil prices, the greenhouse effect and the Middle East are some of the keywords in that connection. The future energy solutions will most likely be a mixture of numerous technologies. Fuel cells are predicted to play a central role as a bridge between energy production and demand. Fuel cells fuelled by hydrocarbons e.g. natural gas or methanol is expected to dominate on the short-medium term period._x000D__x000D_Key issues of fuel cells and fuel cell systems are cost, functionality and durability. Most if not all system components are still after significant cost reductions more expensive that the conventional counterparts. The depletion of some energy sources that we depend on today and the development of the energy prices will force the development toward the new technologies, but still cost reductions are mandatory._x000D__x000D_The CO emphasis of the proposed NextGenDMFC project will be the development of a DMFC (Direct Methanol Fuel Cell) system ready for commercial market introduction. The DMFC system is a sustainable replacement for diesel or gasoline fuelled APU's. DMFC has a neutral CO2 emission score if fuelled with methanol derived from biomass. _x000D__x000D_The 36-month long “DMFC MEA and stack development” National Danish research project has just been completed. The project goals were to develop and test a DMFC unit in order to fulfil the target values listed in the Danish National ‘Road Map’ for year 2008. During the “DMFC MEA and stack development” a DMFC system was developed. The 2G system has been successfully demonstrated as an independent APU for boats and as an UPS power backup solution for telecom. _x000D__x000D_In the past project a significant effort has been spent on the development of the current generation DMFC stack, a balance of plant system, a control system and a battery charger. The resulting DMFC system has proven itself to be significantly cheaper than the 1G system and able to operate in a stable manner at ambient conditions._x000D__x000D_The goal of NextGenDMFC is to develop a DMFC system which is less sensitive to changes in operation profiles. The current 2G DMFC prototype system will be subjected to analysis during operation with different operation profile; start-stop cycles continuous mode operation etc. The result of the analysis will be used to define the current limitations of the 2G DMFC system and to design next generation of the DMFC system. The 3G DMFC system will be designed with the following key objectives in mind: Decreased manufacturing cost and increased durability and functionality._x000D__x000D_A significant effort will be devoted to the development of control algorithms enabling a long-lived stable system under various types of operation profiles._x000D__x000D_The current system will be thoroughly analyzed in order to minimize component usage and complexity. This will result in a system which is both more stable and easier to produce than the current DMFC system._x000D__x000D_In order to solve the above tasks IRD and AVL have made a consortium. IRD has the know-how about the DMFC fuel cell system components from membrane electrode assemblies to stacks. IRD has also developed fuel cell demonstration systems around both PEM FC and DMFC stacks. AVL has extensive knowledge about design, research and development of power trains and has a well established simulation, instrumentation and test department. AVL also has an extensive fuel cell expertise. _x000D__x000D_The combination of know-how about well established market ready technologies and know-how about future technology on the demonstration level, will ensure that the DMFC APU is ready for commercialization immediately after the expiration of the NextGenDMFC project._x000D__x000D_

Acronym NextGENDMFC (Reference Number: 5211)
Duration 01/04/2010 - 01/10/2012
Project Topic DMFC is a no emission and sustainable alternative APU. The current generation DMFC need further R&D in order to enhance durability, cost and functionality. IRD as DMFC system developer and AVL with knowhow in optimization of fuel cells, will achieve the goals in 30mth if granted EUROSTARS funding.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The target of the project was to improve IRDs DMFC APU to enhance durability, cost and functionality._x000D_AVL as a project P of IRD supported the development of the DMFC by applying their lifetime assessment tool and their THDA fuel cell monitoring technology. Both technologies were adopted succesfully to the DMFC system and their application resulted in helpful recommendations for improving the DMFC system._x000D__x000D__x000D_
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 AVL List GmbH Partner Austria
2 IRD A/S Coordinator Denmark