A direct methanol fuel cell can convert chemical energy in the form of a liquid fuel into electrical energy to power devices, while simultaneously operating at low temperatures and producing virtually no greenhouse gases. Since the direct methanol fuel cell performance characteristics are inherently nonlinear and complex, it can be postulated that artificial neural networks represent a marked improvement in performance prediction capabilities. Artificial neural networks have long been used as a tool in predictive modeling. In this work, an artificial neural network is employed to predict the performance of a direct methanol fuel cell under various operating conditions. This work on the experimental analysis of a uniquely designed fuel cell and the computational modeling of a unique algorithm has not been found in prior literature outside of the authors and their affiliations. The fuel cell input variables for the performance analysis consist not only of the methanol concentration, fuel cell temperature, and current density, but also the number of cells and anode flow rate. The addition of the two typically unconventional variables allows for a more distinctive model when compared to prior neural network models. The key performance indicator of our neural network model is the cell voltage, which is an average voltage across the stack and ranges from 0 to 0:8V. Experimental studies were carried out using DMFC stacks custom-fabricated, with a membrane electrode assembly consisting of an additional unique liquid barrier layer to minimize water loss through the cathode side to the atmosphere. To determine the best fit of the model to the experimental cell voltage data, the model is trained using two different second order training algorithms: OWO-Newton and Levenberg-Marquardt (LM). The OWO-Newton algorithm has a topology that is slightly different from the topology of the LM algorithm by the employment of bypass weights. It can be concluded that the application of artificial neural networks can rapidly construct a predictive model of the cell voltage for a wide range of operating conditions with an accuracy of 10−3 to 10−4. The results were comparable with existing literature. The added dimensionality of the number of cells provided insight into scalability where the coefficient of the determination of the results for the two multi-cell stacks using LM algorithm were up to 0:9998. The model was also evaluated with empirical data of a single-cell stack.

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