Water recovery and recycling are key technologies for fuel cell power systems. This paper describes technology to recover and recycle water using a compact, efficient condenser to separate water from a fuel cell exhaust stream. The condenser uses an innovative, micromachined condensing surface to achieve very high condensation mass flux and enable very high water recovery efficiency from a compact system. The condenser is sized for a 5 kWe, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power system, but can easily be scaled up for higher power systems. We demonstrated operation of the condenser using an input stream that simulated the exhaust from an SOFC power system. Our device condensed and recovered 97–99% of the water in the input stream while consuming very little power (about 50 W).

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