A self-sustaining thermal transpiration gas pump and SOFC power generation system

Kang Wang, Pingying Zeng, Jeongmin Ahn, Paul D. Ronney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A self-sustaining thermal transpiration-based combustor and gas pump system having no moving parts and using readily storable hydrocarbon fuel is presented. Thermal transpiration was accomplished by meeting two essential conditions: (1) gas flow in the transitional or molecular regime using glass microfiber filters as transpiration membranes and (2) a temperature gradient through the membrane using catalytic combustion downstream of the membrane. Experiments showed that transpiration pumps with larger porosity and larger overall size exhibited better performance, though membrane pore size had little effect. These results were quantitatively consistent with theoretical predictions. By exploiting the temperature and fuel/oxygen concentrations within the transpiration pump, a novel, complete portable power generation system was created using a single-chamber solid-oxide fuel cell and its performance is reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3327-3334
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Gas pump
  • Miniature power generator
  • SOFC
  • Thermal transpiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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