Table of Contents
Journal of Fuels
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 915015, 9 pages
Research Article

Petroleum Diesel and Biodiesel Fuels Used in a Direct Hydrocarbon Phosphoric Acid 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
3Chemistry, University of Ottawa, 10 Marie Curie, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
4EnPross Incorporated, 147 Banning Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K2L 1C5

Received 4 July 2015; Accepted 13 September 2015

Academic Editor: Zhongliang Zhan

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 performance of a direct hydrocarbon phosphoric acid fuel cell, PAFC, was investigated using petroleum diesel, biodiesel, and n-hexadecane as the fuels. We believe this is the first study of a fuel cell being operated with petroleum diesel as the fuel at the anode. Degradation in fuel cell performance was observed prior to reaching steady state. The degradation was attributed to a carbonaceous material forming on the surface of the anode. Regardless of the initial degradation, a steady-state operation was achieved with each of the diesel fuels. After treating the anode with water the fuel cell performance recovered. However, the fuel cell performance degraded again prior to obtaining another steady-state operation. There were several observations that were consistent with the suggestion that the carbonaceous material formed from the diesel fuels might be a reaction intermediate necessary for steady-state operation. Finally, the experiments indicated that water in the phosphoric acid electrolyte could be used as the water required for the anodic reaction. The water formed at the cathode could provide the replacement water for the electrolyte, thereby eliminating the need to provide a water feed system for the fuel cell.