Publication Date

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Chris Tweddle, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dianna Galante, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Karen D'Arcy, Ph.D.


Enzymatic glucose fuel cell and microbial fuel cell are limited by their extremely low power and short durability. Direct Glucose Fuel Cell (DGFC) appears to be a promising alternative power source in low power portable devices and medicinal implants. In this thesis, a one dimensional mathematical model is developed to simulate Direct Glucose Fuel Cell performance. The model accounts simultaneously for mass transport of reactants, products and intermediate species, together with reaction kinetics and ohmic resistance effects in a Direct Glucose Fuel Cell system. It resulted in two sets (for anode and cathode) of first order nonlinear differential equations (derived from conservation equations) valid for heterogeneous domain consisting of electrodes, gas diffusion layers, anion exchange membrane, catalyst layers and flow channels. These equations were solved using numerical techniques such as Runge-Kutta 4th order method and Shooting technique in MATLAB. The influence of various parameters such as anionic conductivity, active catalyst surface area, glucose concentration, temperature on DGFC performance is investigated. Our results show that, the increase in glucose concentration after certain limit does not increase the DGFC performance and increase in the catalyst surface area always increases the performance of DGFC. Also, the anodic overpotential is large compared to cathodic overpotential due to complex kinetics of the glucose electrooxidation.

Included in

Mathematics Commons