Recently, there has been increased interest in the development of a small-sized direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for low-power applications. In this paper, the design of a self-activated DMFC stack is presented. Gravitational and capillary forces feed the anode side liquid methanol solution. On the cathode side, air is supplied by thermal and solutal buoyancy forces. Based upon experimental results for a larger test cell, and calculated flow velocities for the small-cell design, the fuel and oxidizer supply rates should be adequate for acceptable performance. The entire DMFC is therefore a pump-less operation and self-activated by electrochemical reactions. At 1 cm3 total volume, the DMFC is expected to provide a power density around 1 W/cm3, with a range of output of 10V, 0.1A to 1 V, 1A depending on the arrangement of individual cell connections.

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