The performance of microscale fuel cells with high-aspect-ratio electrodes, defined as the ratio of electrode length to width, is often limited by the depletion of fuel along the length of the anode. Here we present a mathematical model to study electrode aspect ratio in a direct methanol microscale fuel cell. The model is supported with experimental data to show that low-aspect-ratio electrodes achieve higher power densities via improved mass transport to electrodes. The influence of electrode width on overall cell performance was investigated by varying the catalyst deposition region in low-aspect-ratio electrodes. The performance of our experimental fuel cell is consistent with our modeling studies, achieving a maximum power density of 25.3 mW/cm2 at room temperature with 1 M methanol. The model presented here can be used to further improve the geometric design of electrodes in a microscale fuel cell.

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