Existing DMFC-based fuel cell products are today deployed in the low performance, under 500 W, range. Due to the higher energy demands in many industrial applications, significant potential exists for DMFC systems in this market. An increase to the power output of a DMFC module to 500 to 1000 W and the development of a cascading system allow the DMFC to be deployed for energy supply solutions of 0.5 to 5 kW.
A DMFC solution in the lower kW range closes the gap between the performance range of hydrogen fuel cells and the DMFC systems available until now. The advantages of the liquid fuel methanol — easy logistics and a long shelf life — can simplify market entry of the fuel cell in many industrial applications. The comparably high acquisition costs of DMFC systems can be depreciated over five, ten or more years. As such, the purchase costs for systems in the single-digit kW range do not represent an insurmountable hurdle for market entry. Rather, substantial cost savings and significant other advantages can be attained with practical implementation including the inherent easy handling characteristics of the fuel methanol in running operations.
Because of the exceptional efficiency of a DMFC to produce direct current from fuel, the DMFC can even hold its own when compared with the fuel costs of a conventional generator — yet it only emits minimal noise and boasts the advantage of being maintenance free over many years. By packaging the fuel cells in types of casings that customers are familiar with, customers are not only provided with a new technology but also a standardised solution.