A switchable pH-differential unitized regenerative fuel cell with high performance

Xu Lu, Jin Xuan, Dennis Y.C. Leung, Haiyang Zou, Jiantao Li, Hailiang Wang, Huizhi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Regenerative fuel cells are a potential candidate for future energy storage, but their applications are limited by the high cost and poor round-trip efficiency. Here we present a switchable pH-differential unitized regenerative fuel cell capable of addressing both the obstacles. Relying on a membraneless laminar flow-based design, pH environments in the cell are optimized independently for different electrode reactions and are switchable together with the cell process to ensure always favorable thermodynamics for each electrode reaction. Benefiting from the thermodynamic advantages of the switchable pH-differential arrangement, the cell allows water electrolysis at a voltage of 0.57 V, and a fuel cell open circuit voltage of 1.89 V, rendering round-trip efficiencies up to 74%. Under room conditions, operating the cell in fuel cell mode yields a power density of 1.3 W cm−2, which is the highest performance to date for laminar flow-based cells and is comparable to state-of-the-art polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume314
Early online date12 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016

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