Table of Contents
Journal of Fuels
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 748679, 9 pages
Research Article

n-Hexadecane Fuel for a Phosphoric Acid Direct Hydrocarbon Fuel Cell

1Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Ottawa, 161 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
2Catalysis Centre for Research and Innovation, University of Ottawa, 30 Marie Curie, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
3Chemical Engineering, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
4EnPross Incorporated, 147 Banning Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K2L 1C5

Received 8 January 2015; Accepted 17 March 2015

Academic Editor: Michele Gambino

Copyright © 2015 Yuanchen Zhu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of this work was to examine fuel cells as a possible alternative to the diesel fuel engines currently used in railway locomotives, thereby decreasing air emissions from the railway transportation sector. We have investigated the performance of a phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) reactor, with n-hexadecane, C16H34 (a model compound for diesel fuel, cetane number = 100). This is the first extensive study reported in the literature in which n-hexadecane is used directly as the fuel. Measurements were made to obtain both polarization curves and time-on-stream results. Because deactivation was observed hydrogen polarization curves were measured before and after n-hexadecane experiments, to determine the extent of deactivation of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). By feeding water-only (no fuel) to the fuel cell anode the deactivated MEAs could be regenerated. One set of fuel cell operating conditions that produced a steady-state was identified. Identification of steady-state conditions is significant because it demonstrates that stable fuel cell operation is technically feasible when operating a PAFC with n-hexadecane fuel.