Mobion® vs. Traditional DMFCs
How the Technology Works
MTI Micro's Mobion® technology simplifies the traditional approach to system design in which water would need to be externally pumped from the cathode to the anode side for the chemical reaction to occur and energy to be produced. Using MTI Micro's proprietary technology the water required for the process on the fuel side is transferred internally within the fuel cell from the site of water generation on the air-side of the cell. This internal flow of water takes place without the need for any pumps, complicated re-circulation loops or other micro-plumbing tools.
Below are two schematics of typical direct methanol fuel cell system designs and a schematic of MTI Micro's Mobion® technology
Low Energy Content Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Active System
Typically, anode fuel concentration is controlled at a low methanol level (2%) and water is needed at the anode side for the reaction to occur so the water is collected from the cathode side (e.g. by gravity) and pumped externally back to the anode. The result is a system that uses micro-pumps and micro-pipes increasing the size, complexity and cost of the system and ultimately impacting commercial product requirements.Low Energy Content Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Passive System
Another direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) system design - for a low content DMFC- carries the water required for the reaction to occur at the anode side together with the fuel in the same tank, thereby avoiding the need of collecting and pumping water from the cathode back to the anode.
In this system design, carrying water with the fuel severely reduces the system's energy density because water has no energy content. The result is a simplified system that might not improve the energy density needs of today's portable electronic devices and may not compete favorably against advanced lithium ion batteries.MTI Micro Mobion® Technology
In repeated laboratory tests, MTI Micro's Mobion® technology allows for neat (100%) methanol to be directly fed into the anode side of the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), consequently eliminating the need for carrying water in the system or the need for micro-pumps and a micro-plumbing subsystem. While not shown in detail for reasons of remaining need of confidentiality, the important features of such an approach are how to properly control supply of 100% methanol to the cell with uniform distribution across the cell , and how to achieve water flow within the cell from the cathode (air) side to the anode (fuel) side without the use of a pump.
MTI Micro's Mobion® system offers the advantage of higher energy density than the current technologies for portable electronic devices. MTI Micro's Mobion® technology is designed to reduce parts count and the need for complex components resulting in a smaller system. By developing this very simple, complete system, manufacturability needs and market opportunities for small fuel cells could be addressed early and cost effectively. The system is also scalable to a wide range of product options - from accessories to battery replacements - in both the commercial and military markets. A series of system prototypes have been developed showing size reductions and performance improvements, including operation on an increased concentration of up to 100% methanol.