Comparison Study of Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell (DEFC) and Integrated Reformer-Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)
Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) converts hydrogen to electrical energy, thus ethanol needs to be converted first to hydrogen through an ethanol-reforming system. Because of the complexity of the integration between reformer system and fuel cell, another technology has been developed to convert ethanol directly to electrical energy. Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell (DEFC) is a modification of PEMFC which is becoming popular due to its advantages of using ethanol directly as the main feed and the theoretical calculations show that DEFC exhibit better exergic efficiency than ethanol reforming PEMFC. This study conducted with the variation of ethanol concentration for each fuel cell system: 5%, 10%, and 15%. Reformer-PEMFC integrated system consists of reforming, WGS (water-gas shift), and preferential oxidation (PrOx) reactors. Reforming reactor operated at temperature 300 – 400oC, WGS reactor at 200 – 300oC, and PrOx reactor at 100 – 200oC. Beside the operating temperature, the reformer-PEMFC integrated system configuration optimized to achieve the optimum heat transfer system. Both fuel cells operated at maximum temperature of 80oC and atmospheric pressure. The characterization conducted electrochemically through potentiodynamic scan. Fuel cell voltage and efficiency resulted from this research are expected to be a consideration in the use of commercially fuel cell.
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