DMFC/Battery Hybrid with optimized components

Period of Performance: 01/14/2003 - 11/10/2003

$120K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mesoscopic Devices, LLC
510 Compton Street, Suite 106
Broomfield, CO 80020
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Mesoscopic Devices proposes to develop an advanced direct methanol fuel cell battery charger that will operate on concentrated methanol. Our design is based on a system-level optimization approach that minimizes the size and power draw of the auxiliary components while maximizing the stack output. In Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of two key components to meet the system requirements by demonstrating a compact, lower power-draw methanol concentration sensor and a unique microchannel water condenser. The proposed concentration sensor is smaller, lighter, and has a faster response than current generation sensors, allowing minimum solution volume and fast response. The water condenser is optimized for low pressure drop and high thermal effectiveness, and will allow the system to operate in high ambient temperatures while maintaining water balance. A DMFC battery charger, combined with rechargeable lithium batteries would be a near-term fieldable system for powering electronics for the individual soldier. A single DMFC/battery hybrid could replace multiple batteries, with weight savings of up to 50 pounds per soldier for longer missions. The availability of lightweight, quiet systems for recharging batteries in the field will enhance our warfighting capability, particularly for reconnaissance missions. Civilian variants of the DMFC system are in great demand for powering portable computers, cellular telephones, and remote equipment.