A small-scale five-cell flowing electrolyte–direct methanol fuel cell (FE-DMFC) stack with U-type manifold configuration and parallel serpentine flow bed design was studied experimentally. The active area of a single cell was approximately 25 cm2. For every stack cell, diluted sulphuric acid was used as the flowing electrolyte (FE) which was circulated through a porous medium placed between two Nafion® 115 polymer electrolyte membranes. The stack performance was studied over a range of several operating conditions, such as temperature (50–80 °C), FE flow rate (0–17.5 ml/min), methanol concentration (0.5–4.0 M), and methanol solution flow rate (10–20 ml/min). In addition, the stack cell to cell voltage variations and the effects of the FE stream interruption on the output voltage were investigated at various operating loads. Experimental results showed that utilization of the FE effectively reduced methanol crossover and improved the stack power output. It was found that increasing the FE flow rate enhanced the stack capability to operate at higher inlet methanol concentrations without any degradation to the performance. The results also demonstrated that the stack power output can be directly controlled by regulating the FE stream especially at high operating currents.

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