Small-scale power generation using paper based fuel cells

Lal, Sweta and Sahu, Kirti Chandra (2019) Small-scale power generation using paper based fuel cells. PhD thesis, Indian institute of technology Hyderabad.


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Paper based microfluidics has emerged as a promising technology for the development of low cost energy devices such as, paper based fuel cells for powering point-of-care (POC) diagnostic devices. These devices include glucometers, pregnancy detection kits etc. The diagnostic devices that are used in the environmental, health monitoring, micro/nano electromechanical systems (MEMS), wireless electronics etc. require power for a short duration and in milli-nano watt range for the analysis and display of the results/diagnosis. These are referred to as micro-nano devices (MNS). These devices are low power consuming and require the electrical input for a few seconds to a few minutes and are usually disposed after one-time use. Currently Li-ion batteries are used as the source of power in these devices. Apart from batteries other potential powering sources are solar cells and microbial fuel cells, however these have certain limitations associated with them. For instance, functioning of solar cells is dependent on the availability of sunlight, microbial fuel cells deliver power in the microwatt ranges and require strict environment control for their operation. The use of batteries in single-use, disposable devices is not recommended as it leads to under utilization of stored energy and resourceful materials. Moreover, keeping in view of the growing energy demand which may surpass the available energy sources, finding cost-e�ective powering sources for low-power requiring devices is necessary. Micro-fuel cells can be thought of as an alternative to the aforementioned power sources. However, in general fuel cells require metering devices for the supply of fuel and oxidant, which makes the overall system cumbersome. Paper can transport liquid fuels due to its remarkable intrinsic properties such as, porosity and capillarity. Furthermore, paper is cheap, easily available, easy to shape and dispose (biodegradable), without posing any environmental threats. Due to these benefits paper can easily provide the platform for the functioning of energy devices which are based on liquid fuel, oxidants and electrolytes. Due its intrinsic transport properties, paper based fuel cells don’t need any external pumping mechanism or ancillary parts to pump the fluids through the system. This not only reduces the fabrication and operational complexity to a great extent, but also minimizes the overall cost. The development and fabrication of various paper-based fuel cells in di�erent architectures,has been extensively studied by researchers recently. However, some of these either use expensive noble metal catalyst (Pt, Au, Pd) to attain high power densities or micro-organisms (bacteria) for their operation (as in microbial fuel cell), which limits their application in MNSs. The primary objective of this thesis is to develop, fabricate and characterize low-cost, easy to use and disposable paper based fuel cells for powering micro-nano devices at room temperature.

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IITH Creators:
IITH CreatorsORCiD
Sahu, Kirti Chandra
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Chemical Engineering
Divisions: Department of Chemical Engineering
Depositing User: Team Library
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 11:04
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 08:52
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