Increasing interest in utilizing direct methanol fuel cells for portable applications has prompted the need for understanding of their operating characteristics. Approximately 80% of a direct methanol fuel cell stack's volume and weight arise from the bipolar plates. The bipolar plates have grooved anode and cathode flow fields, and have a critical influence on the cell stack performance and stability. However, there is little published data regarding design expansion from single cell to stack, and literature regarding the fuel/oxidant distribution in each cell is especially scant. Hence, this topic is the subject of the present study, which reports the design of a complete direct methanol fuel cell consisting of five single cells including a graphite bipolar plate, as well as an innovative anode and cathode flow channel design. By observing variations in operating parameters, such as applied load and the flow of methanol solution and air, the impact of each parameter on the output performance and stability of the stack was investigated.

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