Energy and exergy analysis of microfluidic fuel cell

Hao Zhang, Michael K. H. Leung, Jin Xuan*, Hong Xu, Li Zhang, Dennis Y. C. Leung, Huizhi Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Microfluidic fuel cell (MFC) is a promising fuel cell type because its membraneless feature implies great potential for low-cost commercialization. In this study, an energy and exergy analysis of MFC is performed by numerical simulation coupling computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with electrochemical kinetics. MFC system designs with and without fuel recirculation are investigated. The effects of micropump efficiency, fuel flow rate and fuel concentration on the MFC system performance are evaluated. The results indicate that fuel recirculation is preferred for MFC to gain higher exergy efficiency only if the efficiency of the micropump is sufficiently high. Optimal cell operating voltage for achieving the highest exergy efficiency can be obtained. Parasitic effect will cause a significant reduction in the exergy efficiency. An increase in the fuel concentration will also lead to a reduction in the exergy efficiency. Increasing the fuel flow rate in a MFC with fuel recirculation will cause a fluctuating variation in the exergy efficiency. On the other hand, in a one-off MFC system, the exergy efficiency decreases with increasing fuel flow rate. The present work enables better understanding of the energy conversion in MFC and facilitates design optimization of MFC. Copyright (C) 2013, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6526-6536
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2013


  • Microfluidic fuel cell
  • Fuel recirculation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Exergy efficiency


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