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Microfluidic hydrogen generator : featuring passive on-demand gas generation and self-circulated reactant for integration with micro fuel cell
A microfluidic hydrogen generator is presented in this work. Its fabrication, characterization, and integration with a micro proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell are described. Hydrogen gas is generated by the hydrolysis of aqueous ammonia borane. Gas generation, as well as the circulation of ammonia borane from a rechargeable fuel reservoir, is performed without any power consumption. To achieve this, directional growth and selective venting of hydrogen gas is maintained in the microchannels, which results in the circulation of fresh reactant from the fuel reservoir. In addition to this self-circulation mechanism, the hydrogen generator has been demonstrated to self-regulate gas generation to meet demands of a connected micro fuel cell. All of this is done without parasitic power consumption from the fuel cell. Results show its feasibility in applications of high-impedance systems. Lastly, recommendations for improvements and suggestions for future work are described