Patents by Inventor Xiaoming Ren

Xiaoming Ren has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 7179501
    Abstract: A fuel cell diffusion layer providing a preferential path by which liquid reactants or byproducts may be supplied to or removed from a direct oxidation fuel cell is described. The modified diffusion layer will be typically on the cathode side of the fuel cell and its use is to eliminate or minimize flooding of the cathode diffusion layer area, which is a performance limiting condition in direct methanol fuel cells. In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the diffusion layer includes a substrate that is coated with a microporous layer. A pattern may be embossed into the diffusion layer, to create preferential flow paths by which water will travel and thereby be removed from the cathode catalyst area. This avoids cathode flooding and avoids build up of potentially destructive pressure by possible cathodic water accumulation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 20, 2007
    Assignee: MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc.
    Inventors: Gerhard Beckmann, Xiaoming Ren, Paul F. Mutolo, Frank W. Kovacs, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20060068271
    Abstract: A simplified direct oxidation fuel cell system is disclosed. The fuel cell is constructed in such a manner that fuel is added to the cell anode as it is consumed and water is evaporated off at cell cathode so that there is no need for recirculation of unreacted fuel at the cell anode or water at the cell cathode. In addition, carbon dioxide generated from the anodic reaction is passively vented out of the system by using a CO2 gas permeable membrane material integrated as part of the anode chamber construction. It is thus possible that, the CO2 separation from the anode fluid occurs without the recirculation of the anode fluid outside the anode chamber. In one embodiment, the simplified direct oxidation fuel cell includes a gas permeable, liquid impermeable membrane placed in close proximity to the anode to perform the carbon dioxide separation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 8, 2005
    Publication date: March 30, 2006
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, John Becerra, Gerhard Beckmann, Eric Brown, Michael DeFilippis, Jay Neutzler, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Patent number: 6986961
    Abstract: A fuel cell stack has a plurality of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) where each PEFC includes a rectangular membrane electrode assembly (MEA) having a fuel flow field along a first axis and an air flow field along a second axis perpendicular to the first axis, where the fuel flow field is long relative to the air flow field. A cathode air flow field in each PEFC has air flow channels for air flow parallel to the second axis and that directly open to atmospheric air for air diffusion within the channels into contact with the MEA.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2006
    Assignee: The Regents of the University of California
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Patent number: 6981877
    Abstract: A simplified direct oxidation fuel cell system is provided. The fuel cell is constructed in such a manner that fuel is added to the cell anode as it is consumed and water is evaporated off at cell cathode so that there is no need for recirculation of unreacted fuel at the cell anode or water at the cell cathode. In addition, carbon dioxide generated from the anodic reaction is passively vented out of the system by using a CO2 gas permeable membrane material integrated as part of the anode chamber construction. Other embodiments of the invention include a fuel container and delivery assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2006
    Assignee: MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc.
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Juan J. Becerra, Gerhard Beckmann, Eric J. Brown, Michael S. DeFilippis, Jay K. Neutzler, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Patent number: 6962760
    Abstract: Methods for conditioning the membrane electrode assembly of a direct methanol fuel cell (“DMFC”) are disclosed. In a first method, an electrical current of polarity opposite to that used in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is passed through the anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly. In a second method, methanol is supplied to an anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, allowed to cross over the polymer electrolyte membrane of the membrane electrode assembly to a cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, and an electrical current of polarity opposite to that in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is drawn through the membrane electrode assembly, wherein methanol is oxidized at the cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly while the catalyst on the anode surface is reduced. Surface oxides on the direct methanol fuel cell anode catalyst of the membrane electrode assembly are thereby reduced.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2005
    Assignee: The Regents of the University of California
    Inventors: Cynthia Rice, Xiaoming Ren, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20050227140
    Abstract: A fuel cell diffusion layer providing a preferential path by which liquid reactants or byproducts may be supplied to or removed from a direct oxidation fuel cell is described. The modified diffusion layer will be typically on the cathode side of the fuel cell and its use is to eliminate or minimize flooding of the cathode diffusion layer area, which is a performance limiting condition in direct methanol fuel cells. In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the diffusion layer includes a substrate that is coated with a microporous layer. A pattern may be embossed into the diffusion layer, to create preferential flow paths by which water will travel and thereby be removed from the cathode catalyst area. This avoids cathode flooding and avoids build up of potentially destructive pressure by possible cathodic water accumulation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 13, 2005
    Publication date: October 13, 2005
    Inventors: Gehard Beckmann, Xiaoming Ren, Paul Mutolo, Frank Kovacs, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Patent number: 6936368
    Abstract: A system and method for removal or oxidative decomposition of fuel from a fuel storage container for use in a direct oxidation fuel cell and direct oxidation fuel cell system wherein the fuel permeates through a material and can be exposed to a catalyst/enzyme which oxidizes the fuel as it leaves the storage container. The system includes a fuel storage container provided with a catalyst-coated material. An airtight seal is provided over the catalyzed area, which seal is broken to allow oxygen access, and consequently the catalytic reaction. The airtight seal may be broken by simple manual methods or automatic methods on removal of the container from the fuel cell system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 30, 2005
    Assignee: The Gillette Company
    Inventors: Robert S. Hirsch, Shimshon Gottesfeld, Xiaoming Ren
  • Publication number: 20050181271
    Abstract: A simplified direct oxidation fuel cell system is provided. The fuel cell is constructed in such a manner that fuel is added to the cell anode as it is consumed and water is evaporated off at cell cathode so that there is no need for recirculation of unreacted fuel at the cell anode or water at the cell cathode. In addition, carbon dioxide generated from the anodic reaction is passively vented out of the system by using a CO2 gas permeable membrane material integrated as part of the anode chamber construction. Other embodiments of the invention include a fuel container and delivery assembly.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 17, 2005
    Publication date: August 18, 2005
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Juan Becerra, Gerhard Beckmann, Eric Brown, Michael DeFilippis, Jay Neutzler, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20050170224
    Abstract: A fuel cell system having a methanol vapor delivery component or film is provided. The component includes an evaporation pad. The evaporation pad is disposed within the fuel cell generally parallel to the anode diffusion layer, but with a vapor gap provided between the evaporation pad and the anode diffusion layer. A fuel delivery conduit having at least one injection port is provided through which liquid fuel is delivered from an associated source of highly concentrated fuel into the evaporation pad, at a controlled, adjustable rate. Multiple parallel liquid delivery points can also be provided. In order to ensure uniform delivery of fuel across the across the active area of the anode, one or more dispersion members are placed on the evaporation pad to effectively disperse the fuel laterally around each injection port.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 28, 2004
    Publication date: August 4, 2005
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Juan Becerra, Robert Hirsch, Shimshon Gottesfeld, Frank Kovacs, Kevin Shufon
  • Patent number: 6890680
    Abstract: A fuel cell diffusion layer providing a preferential path by which liquid reactants or byproducts may be supplied to or removed from a direct oxidation fuel cell is described. The modified diffusion layer will be typically on the cathode side of the fuel cell and its use is to eliminate or minimize flooding of the cathode diffusion layer area, which is a performance limiting condition in direct methanol fuel cells. In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the diffusion layer includes a substrate that is coated with a microporous layer. A pattern may be embossed into the diffusion layer, to create preferential flow paths by which water will travel and thereby be removed from the cathode catalyst area. This avoids cathode flooding and avoids build up of potentially destructive pressure by possible cathodic water accumulation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2005
    Assignee: MTI MicroFuel Cells Inc.
    Inventors: Gerhard Beckmann, Xiaoming Ren, Paul F. Mutolo, Frank W. Kovacs, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20050081433
    Abstract: Fuel mixtures for direct methanol fuel cells are disclosed. The fuels include methanol and additives that react with water to produce methanol and other easily electro-oxidizable compounds including dimethyloxymethane, methylorthoformate, tetramethylorthocarbonate, trimethylborate, and tetramethylorthosilicate. Other additives to improve safety and efficiency of the fuel cell include sulfonated activated carbon particles and metal hydrides, such as LiAlH4, NaBH4, LiBH4, (CH3)2 NHBH3, NaAlH4, B2H6, NaCNBH3, CaH2, LiH, NaH, KH or sodium bis (2-methoxyethoxy) dihydridaluminate.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2003
    Publication date: April 21, 2005
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Kevin Shufon, Frank Kovacs
  • Publication number: 20050081429
    Abstract: The present invention provides a viscous fuel, which includes a fuel substance held in a polymeric structure, where the viscous fuel has benefits over previous fuels, including performance enhancements and desirable physical characteristics. One embodiment of the formulation includes neat methanol, to which a thickening substance, such as that sold commercially under the trade name Carbopol®, is added to impart viscosity, as well as stabilizing and suspending properties. In addition to the thickening substance, a further substance can be added to balance the pH of the viscous fuel when needed.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 10, 2004
    Publication date: April 21, 2005
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Lena Guleserian
  • Publication number: 20050084720
    Abstract: The present invention provides a gel fuel, which includes a fuel substance held in a polymeric structure. One embodiment of the composition includes neat methanol, to which a thickening substance, such as that sold commercially under the trade name Carbopol®, is added to impart viscosity, as well as stabilizing and suspending properties. In addition to the thickening substance, a further substance can be added to balance the pH of the gel fuel when needed. In accordance with the invention, a fuel cell cartridge is provided that has at least one aspect that is methanol-permeable, and which may include a fuel vapor permeable layer and it may be comprised of one of a number of various alternative materials. Features within the fuel cartridge can be used to increase surface area of the gel fuel, and to maintain the gel fuel in a desired location within the cartridge.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2003
    Publication date: April 21, 2005
    Inventors: Juan Becerra, Frank Kovacs, Xiaoming Ren
  • Publication number: 20050081924
    Abstract: A fuel reservoir having a reticulated material, generally a felt or a foam, disposed therein is provided. The addition of this reticulated material, either alone or in combination with a viscous fuel, assists the prevention of undesired flow of the fuel, the minimization of undesired leakages, and assists in orientation independence and uniform distribution of the fuel in the reservoir. The reticulated material enables the use of a viscous liquid fuel that has fuel diffusion rates and fuel utilization characteristics that approach those of neat liquid methanol. The material also helps create a greater surface area for evaporation, thus allowing a highly concentrated, vaporous fuel substance to be delivered to an associated fuel cell.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 10, 2004
    Publication date: April 21, 2005
    Inventors: Michael Manning, Ashish Modi, Xiaoming Ren, Lena Guleserian
  • Publication number: 20040265680
    Abstract: A simplified direct oxidation fuel cell system is disclosed. The fuel cell is constructed in such a manner that fuel is added to the cell anode as it is consumed and water is evaporated off at cell cathode so that there is no need for recirculation of unreacted fuel at the cell anode or water at the cell cathode. In addition, carbon dioxide generated from the anodic reaction is passively vented out of the system by using a CO2 gas permeable membrane material integrated as part of the anode chamber construction. It is thus possible that, the CO2 separation from the anode fluid occurs without the recirculation of the anode fluid outside the anode chamber. In one embodiment, the simplified direct oxidation fuel cell includes a gas permeable, liquid impermeable membrane placed in close proximity to the anode to perform the carbon dioxide separation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 17, 2004
    Publication date: December 30, 2004
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Juan J. Becerra, Gerhard Beckmann, Eric J. Brown, Michael S. DeFilippis, Jay K. Neutzler, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20040209143
    Abstract: A system and method for removal or oxidative decomposition of fuel from a fuel storage container for use in a direct oxidation fuel cell and direct oxidation fuel cell system wherein the fuel permeates through a material and can be exposed to a catalyst/enzyme which oxidizes the fuel as it leaves the storage container. The system includes a fuel storage container provided with a catalyst-coated material. An airtight seal is provided over the catalyzed area, which seal is broken to allow oxygen access, and consequently the catalytic reaction. The airtight seal may be broken by simple manual methods or automatic methods on removal of the container from the fuel cell system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 16, 2003
    Publication date: October 21, 2004
    Inventors: Robert S. Hirsch, Shimshon Gottesfeld, Xiaoming Ren
  • Publication number: 20040209136
    Abstract: A passive direct oxidation fuel cell system, which uses a high concentration fuel such as neat methanol as a direct feed to an anode aspect of the fuel cell is provided. The fuel cell includes a passive water management capability, achieved by the combined functions of controlled fuel dosing, effective bucking of liquid water from the cathode into the membrane electrolyte by a hydrophobic microporous layer well bonded the cathode catalyst and the use of a thin ionomeric membrane. These functions maintain water within the membrane and at the anode portion of the fuel cell even when only neat methanol is fed to, or contained in the anode chamber. One embodiment of the fuel cell system includes a methanol delivery film, which effects a phase change from the liquid fuel contained within a fuel reservoir to a vaporous fuel that is presented to the anode aspect of the catalyzed membrane electrolyte. Alternatively, liquid fuel delivery is controlled by a hydrophilic microporous layer.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 15, 2003
    Publication date: October 21, 2004
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Juan J. Becerra, Robert S. Hirsch, Shimshon Gottesfeld, Frank W. Kovacs, Kevin J. Shufon
  • Publication number: 20040209154
    Abstract: Passive water management techniques are provided in an air-breathing direct oxidation fuel cell system. A highly hydrophobic component with sub-micrometer wide pores is laminated to the catalyzed membrane electrolyte on the cathode side. This component blocks liquid water from traveling out of the cathode and instead causes the water to be driven through the polymer membrane electrolyte to the cell anode. The air-breathing direct oxidation fuel cell also includes a layer of cathode backing and additional cathode filter components on an exterior aspect of the cell cathode which lessen the water vapor escape rate from the cell cathode. The combination of the well laminated hydrophobic microporous layer, the thicker backing and the added filter layer, together defines a cathode structure of unique water management capacity, that enables to operate a DMFC with direct, controlled rate supply of neat (100%) methanol, without the need for any external supply or pumping of water.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 4, 2003
    Publication date: October 21, 2004
    Inventors: Xiaoming Ren, Frank W. Kovacs, Kevin J. Shufon, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20040191584
    Abstract: Methods for conditioning the membrane electrode assembly of a direct methanol fuel cell (“DMFC”) are disclosed. In a first method, an electrical current of polarity opposite to that used in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is passed through the anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly. In a second method, methanol is supplied to an anode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, allowed to cross over the polymer electrolyte membrane of the membrane electrode assembly to a cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly, and an electrical current of polarity opposite to that in a functioning direct methanol fuel cell is drawn through the membrane electrode assembly, wherein methanol is oxidized at the cathode surface of the membrane electrode assembly while the catalyst on the anode surface is reduced. Surface oxides on the direct methanol fuel cell anode catalyst of the membrane electrode assembly are thereby reduced.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 12, 2003
    Publication date: September 30, 2004
    Inventors: Cynthia Rice, Xiaoming Ren, Shimshon Gottesfeld
  • Publication number: 20040062979
    Abstract: A fuel cell diffusion layer for delivering a fuel mixture to the anode face of a catalyzed membrane and for resisting flow of carbon dioxide produced in the anodic reaction back into the associated fuel chamber. The diffusion layer contains either conduits or channels on one aspect thereof to redirect the carbon dioxide generated at the anode in the fuel cell reaction away from the catalyzed membrane and away from the fuel chamber. This avoids the volume replacement by carbon dioxide of fuel mixture in the anode chamber and enhances the concentration of methanol that can be used in the fuel mixture. It also serves to allow only that fuel that is consumed in the reaction to enter the space between the anode face of the catalyzed membrane and the diffusion layer adjacent thereto. The diffusion layer further includes perforations to increase the ability to deliver fuel to the anode aspect of the membrane electrode assembly of the fuel cell.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 1, 2002
    Publication date: April 1, 2004
    Inventors: Gerhard Beckmann, Xiaoming Ren