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Direct-Methanol Fuel Cell

for grid independent power supply

V. Loos, P. Marx, K. Wu u. G. Hoogers


Paper towel dispenser

Fig.1: A sensor controlled Ille paper towel dispenser will be the first commercial product powered by the custom developed DMFC system.

In close collaboration between UCB and two partner companies, Ille and Wellgo, a fuel cell power system for remote power generation in vending and distribution machines has been developed. based on a novel operation mode, the system is targeted as battery replacement allowing ultra-long maintenance free operation.

The first commercial product to be powered by the custom developed DMFC system will be Ille's sensor controlled paper towel dispenser. The new power source allows significant extension of the maintenance intervals of the so far battery powered system giving rapid pay-back through lower service expenditure.

Other applications will include parking and fare paying ticket machines, chipcardystems, andother vending and distribution systems.


Direct-Methanol Fuel Cell

Fig.2: The Direct-Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) converts liquid methanol into electric power, carbon dioxide (anode) and water (cathode).


The system consist of the following modules:

Fig.3: System Schematic

System control unit
The control unit adjust fuel an air supply to the required power demand taking into account fuel consumption and environmental parameters such as temperature and humidity.

Fuel supply unit
This module consist of tank, pump and an optional methanol sensor.

Fuel cell stack
Single DMFC cells are arranged in a serial mode in order to provide the required current and voltage.


Advantages of DMFC system

The discribed applications represent ideal early markets for DMFC technology:
The use of a DMFC system allows longer maintenance free operation intervals reducing service expenditure, particularly in remote locations.

The target for this type of DMFC system is grid independent operation for up to six month on one full cartridge of methanol.

Fig.4: Other potential early DMFC markets are vending and distribution machines with small demand in electric power combined with ultra-long maintenance free operation.









Fuel Cell Centre Rhineland-Palatinate

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