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Low methanol and water crossover with high methanol concentrations are essential requirements for a passive Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) to be used in portable applications. Therefore, it is extremely important to clearly understand and study the effect of the different operating and configuration parameters on the cell’s performance and both methanol and water crossover. In the present work, a detailed experimental study on the performance of an in-house developed passive DMFC with 25 cm2 of active membrane area is described. Tailored membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) with different structures and combinations of gas diffusion layers (GDL) and membranes, were tested in order to select optimal working conditions at high methanol concentration levels without sacrificing performance. The experimental polarization curves were successfully compared with the predictions of a steady state, one-dimensional model accounting for coupled heat and mass transfer, along with the electrochemical reactions occurring in the passive DMFC developed by the same authors.
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