Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5523

Search results for: polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

5523 Investigation of Water Transport Dynamics in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells Based on a Gas Diffusion Media Layers

Authors: Saad S. Alrwashdeh, Henning Markötter, Handri Ammari, Jan Haußmann, Tobias Arlt, Joachim Scholta, Ingo Manke


In this investigation, synchrotron X-ray imaging is used to study water transport inside polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Two measurement techniques are used, namely in-situ radiography and quasi-in-situ tomography combining together in order to reveal the relationship between the structures of the microporous layers (MPLs) and the gas diffusion layers (GDLs), the operation temperature and the water flow. The developed cell is equipped with a thick GDL and a high back pressure MPL. It is found that these modifications strongly influence the overall water transport in the whole adjacent GDM.

Keywords: polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, microporous layer, water transport, radiography, tomography

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5522 PBI Based Composite Membrane for High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Authors: Kwangwon Seo, Haksoo Han


Al-Si was synthesized and introduced in poly 2,2’-m-(phenylene)-5,5’-bibenzimidazole (PBI). As a result, a series of five Al-Si/PBI composite (ASPBI) membranes (0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 wt.%) were developed and characterized for application in high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFCs). The chemical and morphological structure of ASPBI membranes were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometer and scanning electron microscopy. According to the doping level test and thermogravimetric analysis, as the concentration of Al-Si increased, the doping level increased up to 475%. Moreover, the proton conductivity, current density at 0.6V, and maximum power density of ASPBI membranes increased up to 0.31 Scm-1, 0.320 Acm-2, and 0.370 Wcm-2, respectively, because the increased concentration of Al-Si allows the membranes to hold more PA. Alternatively, as the amount of Al-Si increased, the tensile strength of PA-doped and -undoped membranes decreased. This was resulted by both excess PA and aggregation, which can cause serious degradation of the membrane and induce cracks. Moreover, the PA-doped and -undoped ASPBI12 had the lowest tensile strength. The improved performances of ASPBI membranes imply that ASPBI membranes are possible candidates for HT-PEMFC applications. However, further studies searching to improve the compatibility between PBI matrix and inorganic and optimize the loading of Al-Si should be performed.

Keywords: composite membrane, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, membrane electrode assembly, polybenzimidazole, polymer electrolyte membrane, proton conductivity

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5521 Optimal Feedback Linearization Control of PEM Fuel Cell

Authors: E. Shahsavari, R. Ghasemi, A. Akramizadeh


This paper presents a new method to design nonlinear feedback linearization controller for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). A nonlinear controller is designed based on nonlinear model to prolong the stack life of PEM fuel cells. Since it is known that large deviations between hydrogen and oxygen partial pressures can cause severe membrane damage in the fuel cell, feedback linearization is applied to the PEM fuel cell system so that the deviation can be kept as small as possible during disturbances or load variations. To obtain an accurate feedback linearization controller, tuning the linear parameters are always important. So in proposed study NSGA_II method was used to tune the designed controller in aim to decrease the controller tracking error. The simulation result showed that the proposed method tuned the controller efficiently.

Keywords: nonlinear dynamic model, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, feedback linearization, optimal control, NSGA_II

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5520 A Comparative Study: Influences of Polymerization Temperature on Phosphoric Acid Doped Polybenzimidazole Membranes

Authors: Cagla Gul Guldiken, Levent Akyalcin, Hasan Ferdi Gercel


Fuel cells are electrochemical devices which convert the chemical energy of hydrogen into the electricity. Among the types of fuel cells, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are attracting considerable attention as non-polluting power generators with high energy conversion efficiencies in mobile applications. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) is one of the essential components of PEMFCs. Perfluorosulfonic acid based membranes known as Nafion® is widely used as PEMs. Nafion® membranes water dependent proton conductivity which limits the operating temperature below 100ᵒC. At higher temperatures, proton conductivity and mechanical stability of these membranes decrease because of dehydration. Polybenzimidazole (PBI), which has good anhydrous proton conductivity after doped with acids, as well as excellent thermal stability, shows great potential in the application of high temperature PEMFCs. In the present study, PBI polymers were synthesized by solution polycondensation at 190 and 210ᵒC. The synthesized polymers were characterized by FTIR, 1H NMR, and TGA. Phosphoric acid doped PBI membranes were prepared and tested in a PEMFC. The influences of reaction temperature on structural properties of synthesized polymers were investigated. Mechanical properties, acid-doping level, proton conductivity, and fuel cell performances of prepared phosphoric acid doped PBI membranes were evaluated. The maximum power density was found as 32.5 mW/cm² at 120ᵒC.

Keywords: fuel cell, high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane, polybenzimidazole, proton exchange membrane fuel cell

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5519 Numerical Analysis of Real-Scale Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells with Cathode Metal Foam Design

Authors: Jaeseung Lee, Muhammad Faizan Chinannai, Mohamed Hassan Gundu, Hyunchul Ju


In this paper, we numerically investigated the effect of metal foams on a real scale 242.57cm2 (19.1 cm × 12.7 cm) polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEFCs) using a three-dimensional two-phase PEFC model to substantiate design approach for PEFCs using metal foam as the flow distributor. The simulations were conducted under the practical low humidity hydrogen, and air gases conditions in order to observe the detailed operation result in the PEFCs using the serpentine flow channel in the anode and metal foam design in the cathode. The three-dimensional contours of flow distribution in the channel, current density distribution in the membrane and hydrogen and oxygen concentration distribution are provided. The simulation results revealed that the use of highly porous and permeable metal foam can be beneficial to achieve a more uniform current density distribution and better hydration in the membrane under low inlet humidity conditions. This study offers basic directions to design channel for optimal water management of PEFCs.

Keywords: polymer electrolyte fuel cells, metal foam, real-scale, numerical model

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5518 Study of Structural Behavior and Proton Conductivity of Inorganic Gel Paste Electrolyte at Various Phosphorous to Silicon Ratio by Multiscale Modelling

Authors: P. Haldar, P. Ghosh, S. Ghoshdastidar, K. Kargupta


In polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is consisting of two platinum coated carbon electrodes, sandwiched with one proton conducting phosphoric acid doped polymeric membrane. Due to low mechanical stability, flooding and fuel cell crossover, application of phosphoric acid in polymeric membrane is very critical. Phosphorous and silica based 3D inorganic gel gains the attention in the field of supercapacitors, fuel cells and metal hydrate batteries due to its thermally stable highly proton conductive behavior. Also as a large amount of water molecule and phosphoric acid can easily get trapped in Si-O-Si network cavities, it causes a prevention in the leaching out. In this study, we have performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and first principle calculations to understand the structural, electronics and electrochemical and morphological behavior of this inorganic gel at various P to Si ratios. We have used dipole-dipole interactions, H bonding, and van der Waals forces to study the main interactions between the molecules. A 'structure property-performance' mapping is initiated to determine optimum P to Si ratio for best proton conductivity. We have performed the MD simulations at various temperature to understand the temperature dependency on proton conductivity. The observed results will propose a model which fits well with experimental data and other literature values. We have also studied the mechanism behind proton conductivity. And finally we have proposed a structure for the gel paste with optimum P to Si ratio.

Keywords: first principle calculation, molecular dynamics simulation, phosphorous and silica based 3D inorganic gel, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, proton conductivity

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5517 An Investigation of a Three-Dimensional Constitutive Model of Gas Diffusion Layers in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Authors: Yanqin Chen, Chao Jiang, Chongdu Cho


This research presents the three-dimensional mechanical characteristics of a commercial gas diffusion layer by experiment and simulation results. Although the mechanical performance of gas diffusion layers has attracted much attention, its reliability and accuracy are still a major challenge. With the help of simulation analysis methods, it is beneficial to the gas diffusion layer’s extensive commercial development and the overall stress analysis of proton electrolyte membrane fuel cells during its pre-production design period. Therefore, in this paper, a three-dimensional constitutive model of a commercial gas diffusion layer, including its material stiffness matrix parameters, is developed and coded, in the user-defined material model of a commercial finite element method software for simulation. Then, the model is validated by comparing experimental results as well as simulation outcomes. As a result, both the experimental data and simulation results show a good agreement with each other, with high accuracy.

Keywords: gas diffusion layer, proton electrolyte membrane fuel cell, stiffness matrix, three-dimensional mechanical characteristics, user-defined material model

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5516 Synthesis and Characterizations of Sulfonated Poly (Ether Ether Ketone) Speek Nanofiber Membrane

Authors: N. Hasbullah, K. A. Sekak


The sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone) SPEEK nanofiber membrane were successfully electrospun for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) and their nanosized properties were investigated. The poly (ether ether ketone) PEEK victrex® grade 90p was sulfonated with concentrated sulfuric acid (95-98% w/w) at room temperature for 60 hours sulfonation times. The degree sulfonation of SPEEK are 70% was determined by H1 NMR and the functional groups of the SPEEK were characterize using FTIR. Then, the SPEEK nanofiber membrane were prepared via electrospinning method using DMAC as a solvent. The SPEEK sample were successfully electrospun using predetermine set up. FESEM show the electrospun fiber mat surface and confirmed the nanostructure membrane cell.

Keywords: polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM), sulfonated poly (ether ether ketone) (SPEEK), degree sulfonation, Electrospinning, Nanofibers

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5515 Experimental Investigation of Performance Anode Side of PEM Fuel Cell with Spin Method Coated with YSZ+SDC

Authors: Gürol Önal, Kevser Dinçer, Salih Yayla


In this study, performance of proton exchange membrane PEM fuel cell was experimentally investigated. Coating on the anode side of the PEM fuel cell was accomplished with the spin method by using YSZ+SDC. A solution having 0,1 gr YttriaStabilized Zirconia (YSZ) + 0,1 Samarium-Doped Ceria (SDC) + 10 mL methanol was prepared. This solution was taken out and filled into a micro-pipette. Then the anode side of PEM fuel cell was coated with YSZ+ SDC by using spin method. In the experimental study, current, voltage and power performances before and after coating were recorded and then compared to each other. It was found that the efficiency of PEM fuel cell increases after the coating with YSZ+SDC.

Keywords: fuel cell, Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM), membrane, spin method

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5514 Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Temperature on A PEM Fuel Cell Performance

Authors: Remzi Şahin, Sadık Ata, Kevser Dincer


In this study, performance of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell was experimentally investigated. The efficiency of energy conversion in PEM fuel cells is dependent on the catalytic activities of the catalysts used in the cathode and anode of membrane electrode assemblies. Membrane is considered the heart of PEM fuel cells without which they cannot produce electricity. PEM fuel cell performance increased with coating carbon nanotube (CNT). CNT show a unique combination of stiffness, strength, and tenacity compared to other fiber materials which usually lack one or more of these properties. Two different experiments were performed and the membrane performance has been determined by repeating the two experiments that were done before coating. The purposes of these experiments are the observation of power change due to a temperature change in the same voltage value.

Keywords: carbon nanotube (CNT), proton exchange membrane (PEM), fuel cell, spin method

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5513 Energy and Exergy Analysis of Anode-Supported and Electrolyte–Supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Gas Turbine Power System

Authors: Abdulrazzak Akroot, Lutfu Namli


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are one of the most promising technologies since they can produce electricity directly from fuel and generate a lot of waste heat that is generally used in the gas turbines to promote the general performance of the thermal power plant. In this study, the energy, and exergy analysis of a solid oxide fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid system was proceed in MATLAB to examine the performance characteristics of the hybrid system in two different configurations: anode-supported model and electrolyte-supported model. The obtained results indicate that if the fuel utilization factor reduces from 0.85 to 0.65, the overall efficiency decreases from 64.61 to 59.27% for the anode-supported model whereas it reduces from 58.3 to 56.4% for the electrolyte-supported model. Besides, the overall exergy reduces from 53.86 to 44.06% for the anode-supported model whereas it reduces from 39.96 to 33.94% for the electrolyte-supported model. Furthermore, increasing the air utilization factor has a negative impact on the electrical power output and the efficiencies of the overall system due to the reduction in the O₂ concentration at the cathode-electrolyte interface.

Keywords: solid oxide fuel cell, anode-supported model, electrolyte-supported model, energy analysis, exergy analysis

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5512 MnO₂-Carbon Nanotubes Catalyst for Enhanced Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell

Authors: Abidullah, Basharat Hussain, Jong Seok Kim


Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is an electrochemical cell, which undergoes an oxygen reduction reaction to produce electrical energy. Platinum (Pt) metal has been used as a catalyst since its inception, but expensiveness is the major obstacle in the commercialization of fuel cells. Herein a non-precious group metal (NPGM) is employed instead of Pt to reduce the cost of PEMFCs. Manganese dioxide impregnated carbon nanotubes (MnO₂-CNTs composite) is a catalyst having excellent electrochemical properties and offers a better alternative to the Platinum-based PEMFC. The catalyst is synthesized by impregnating the transition metal on large surface carbonaceous CNTs by hydrothermal synthesis techniques. To enhance the catalytic activity and increase the volumetric current density, the sample was pyrolyzed at 800ᵒC under a nitrogen atmosphere. During pyrolysis, the nitrogen was doped in the framework of CNTs. Then the material was treated with acid for removing the unreacted metals and adding oxygen functional group to the CNT framework. This process ameliorates the catalytic activity of the manganese-based catalyst. The catalyst has been characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and the catalyst activity has been examined by rotating disc electrode (RDE) experiment. The catalyst was strong enough to withstand an austere alkaline environment in experimental conditions and had a high electrocatalytic activity for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Linear Sweep Voltammetry (LSV) depicts an excellent current density of -4.0 mA/cm² and an overpotential of -0.3V vs. standard calomel electrode (SCE) in 0.1M KOH electrolyte. Rotating disk electrode (RDE) was conducted at 400, 800, 1200, and 1600 rpm. The catalyst exhibited a higher methanol tolerance and long term durability with respect to commercial Pt/C. The results for MnO₂-CNT show that the low-cost catalyst will supplant the expensive Pt/C catalyst in the fuel cell.

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, methanol fuel cell, oxygen reduction reaction, MnO₂-CNTs

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5511 Preparation and Characterization of Pectin Based Proton Exchange Membranes Derived by Solution Casting Method for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Authors: Mohanapriya Subramanian, V. Raj


Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are considered to be one of the most promising candidates for portable and stationary applications in the view of their advantages such as high energy density, easy manipulation, high efficiency and they operate with liquid fuel which could be used without requiring any fuel-processing units. Electrolyte membrane of DMFC plays a key role as a proton conductor as well as a separator between electrodes. Increasing concern over environmental protection, biopolymers gain tremendous interest owing to their eco-friendly bio-degradable nature. Pectin is a natural anionic polysaccharide which plays an essential part in regulating mechanical behavior of plant cell wall and it is extracted from outer cells of most of the plants. The aim of this study is to develop and demonstrate pectin based polymer composite membranes as methanol impermeable polymer electrolyte membranes for DMFCs. Pectin based nanocomposites membranes are prepared by solution-casting technique wherein pectin is blended with chitosan followed by the addition of optimal amount of sulphonic acid modified Titanium dioxide nanoparticle (S-TiO2). Nanocomposite membranes are characterized by Fourier Transform-Infra Red spectroscopy, Scanning electron microscopy, and Energy dispersive spectroscopy analyses. Proton conductivity and methanol permeability are determined into order to evaluate their suitability for DMFC application. Pectin-chitosan blends endow with a flexible polymeric network which is appropriate to disperse rigid S-TiO2 nanoparticles. Resulting nanocomposite membranes possess adequate thermo-mechanical stabilities as well as high charge-density per unit volume. Pectin-chitosan natural polymeric nanocomposite comprising optimal S-TiO2 exhibits good electrochemical selectivity and therefore desirable for DMFC application.

Keywords: biopolymers, fuel cells, nanocomposite, methanol crossover

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5510 Nafion Nanofiber Composite Membrane Fabrication for Fuel Cell Applications

Authors: C. N. Okafor, M. Maaza, T. A. E. Mokrani


A proton exchange membrane has been developed for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC). The nanofiber network composite membranes were prepared by interconnected network of Nafion (perfuorosulfonic acid) nanofibers that have been embedded in an uncharged and inert polymer matrix, by electro-spinning. The spinning solution of Nafion with a low concentration (1 wt. % compared to Nafion) of high molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide), as a carrier polymer. The interconnected network of Nafion nanofibers with average fiber diameter in the range of 160-700nm, were used to make the membranes, with the nanofiber occupying up to 85% of the membrane volume. The matrix polymer was cross-linked with Norland Optical Adhesive 63 under UV. The resulting membranes showed proton conductivity of 0.10 S/cm at 25°C and 80% RH; and methanol permeability of 3.6 x 10-6 cm2/s.

Keywords: composite membrane, electrospinning, fuel cell, nanofibers

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5509 Steady State and Accelerated Decay Rate Evaluations of Membrane Electrode Assembly of PEM Fuel Cells

Authors: Yingjeng James Li, Lung-Yu Sung, Huan-Jyun Ciou


Durability of Membrane Electrode Assembly for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells was evaluated in both steady state and accelerated decay modes. Steady state mode was carried out at constant current of 800mA / cm2 for 2500 hours using air as cathode feed and pure hydrogen as anode feed. The degradation of the cell voltage was 0.015V after such 2500 hrs operation. The degradation rate was therefore calculated to be 6uV / hr. Accelerated mode was carried out by switching the voltage of the single cell between OCV and 0.2V. The durations held at OCV and 0.2V were 20 and 40 seconds, respectively, meaning one minute per cycle. No obvious change in performance of the MEA was observed after 10000 cycles of such operation.

Keywords: durability, lifetime, membrane electrode assembly, proton exchange membrane fuel cells

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5508 Study on Pressurized Reforming System for the Application of Hydrogen Permeable Membrane Applying to Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Authors: Kwangho Lee, Joongmyeon Bae


Fuel cells are spotlighted in the world for being highly efficient and environmentally friendly. A hydrogen fuel for a fuel cell is obtained from a number of sources. Most of fuel cell for APU(Auxiliary power unit) system using diesel fuel as a hydrogen source. Diesel fuel has many advantages, such as high hydrogen storage density, easy to transport and also well-infra structure. However, conventional diesel reforming system for PEMFC(Proton exchange membrane fuel cell) requires a large volume and complex CO removal system for the lower the CO level to less than 10ppm. In addition, the PROX(Preferential Oxidation) reaction cooling load is needed because of the strong exothermic reaction. However, the hydrogen separation membrane that we propose can be eliminated many disadvantages, because the volume is small and permeates only pure hydrogen. In this study, we were conducted to the pressurized diesel reforming and water-gas shift reaction experiment for the hydrogen permeable membrane application.

Keywords: hydrogen, diesel, reforming, ATR, WGS, PROX, membrane, pressure

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5507 Passive Heat Exchanger for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Cooling

Authors: Ivan Tolj


Water produced during electrochemical reaction in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell can be used for internal humidification of reactant gases; hydrogen and air. On such a way it is possible to eliminate expensive external humidifiers and simplify fuel cell balance-of-plant (BoP). When fuel cell operates at constant temperature (usually between 60 °C and 80 °C) relatively cold and dry ambient air heats up quickly upon entering channels which cause further drop in relative humidity (below 20%). Low relative humidity of reactant gases dries up polymer membrane and decrease its proton conductivity which results in fuel cell performance drop. It is possible to maintain such temperature profile throughout fuel cell cathode channel which will result in close to 100 % RH. In order to achieve this, passive heat exchanger was designed using commercial CFD software (ANSYS Fluent). Such passive heat exchanger (with variable surface area) is suitable for small scale PEM fuel cells. In this study, passive heat exchanger for single PEM fuel cell segment (with 20 x 1 cm active area) was developed. Results show close to 100 % RH of air throughout cathode channel with increased fuel cell performance (mainly improved polarization curve) and improved durability.

Keywords: PEM fuel cell, passive heat exchange, relative humidity, thermal management

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5506 Carbon-Foam Supported Electrocatalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Authors: Albert Mufundirwa, Satoru Yoshioka, K. Ogi, Takeharu Sugiyama, George F. Harrington, Bretislav Smid, Benjamin Cunning, Kazunari Sasaki, Akari Hayashi, Stephen M. Lyth


Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are electrochemical energy conversion devices used for portable, residential and vehicular applications due to their low emissions, high efficiency, and quick start-up characteristics. However, PEMFCs generally use expensive, Pt-based electrocatalysts as electrode catalysts. Due to the high cost and limited availability of platinum, research and development to either drastically reduce platinum loading, or replace platinum with alternative catalysts is of paramount importance. A combination of high surface area supports and nano-structured active sites is essential for effective operation of catalysts. We synthesize carbon foam supports by thermal decomposition of sodium ethoxide, using a template-free, gram scale, cheap, and scalable pyrolysis method. This carbon foam has a high surface area, highly porous, three-dimensional framework which is ideal for electrochemical applications. These carbon foams can have surface area larger than 2500 m²/g, and electron microscopy reveals that they have micron-scale cells, separated by few-layer graphene-like carbon walls. We applied this carbon foam as a platinum catalyst support, resulting in the improved electrochemical surface area and mass activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), compared to carbon black. Similarly, silver-decorated carbon foams showed higher activity and efficiency for electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion than silver-decorated carbon black. A promising alternative to Pt-catalysts for the ORR is iron-impregnated nitrogen-doped carbon catalysts (Fe-N-C). Doping carbon with nitrogen alters the chemical structure and modulates the electronic properties, allowing a degree of control over the catalytic properties. We have adapted our synthesis method to produce nitrogen-doped carbon foams with large surface area, using triethanolamine as a nitrogen feedstock, in a novel bottom-up protocol. These foams are then infiltrated with iron acetate (FeAc) and pyrolysed to form Fe-N-C foams. The resulting Fe-N-C foam catalysts have high initial activity (half-wave potential of 0.68 VRHE), comparable to that of commercially available Pt-free catalysts (e.g., NPC-2000, Pajarito Powder) in acid solution. In alkaline solution, the Fe-N-C carbon foam catalysts have a half-wave potential of 0.89 VRHE, which is higher than that of NPC-2000 by almost 10 mVRHE, and far out-performing platinum. However, the durability is still a problem at present. The lessons learned from X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and electrochemical measurements will be used to carefully design Fe-N-C catalysts for higher performance PEMFCs.

Keywords: carbon-foam, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, platinum, Pt-free, Fe-N-C, ORR

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5505 Air–Water Two-Phase Flow Patterns in PEMFC Microchannels

Authors: Ibrahim Rassoul, A. Serir, E-K. Si Ahmed, J. Legrand


The acronym PEM refers to Proton Exchange Membrane or alternatively Polymer Electrolyte Membrane. Due to its high efficiency, low operating temperature (30–80 °C), and rapid evolution over the past decade, PEMFCs are increasingly emerging as a viable alternative clean power source for automobile and stationary applications. Before PEMFCs can be employed to power automobiles and homes, several key technical challenges must be properly addressed. One technical challenge is elucidating the mechanisms underlying water transport in and removal from PEMFCs. On one hand, sufficient water is needed in the polymer electrolyte membrane or PEM to maintain sufficiently high proton conductivity. On the other hand, too much liquid water present in the cathode can cause “flooding” (that is, pore space is filled with excessive liquid water) and hinder the transport of the oxygen reactant from the gas flow channel (GFC) to the three-phase reaction sites. The experimental transparent fuel cell used in this work was designed to represent actual full scale of fuel cell geometry. According to the operating conditions, a number of flow regimes may appear in the microchannel: droplet flow, blockage water liquid bridge /plug (concave and convex forms), slug/plug flow and film flow. Some of flow patterns are new, while others have been already observed in PEMFC microchannels. An algorithm in MATLAB was developed to automatically determine the flow structure (e.g. slug, droplet, plug, and film) of detected liquid water in the test microchannels and yield information pertaining to the distribution of water among the different flow structures. A video processing algorithm was developed to automatically detect dynamic and static liquid water present in the gas channels and generate relevant quantitative information. The potential benefit of this software allows the user to obtain a more precise and systematic way to obtain measurements from images of small objects. The void fractions are also determined based on images analysis. The aim of this work is to provide a comprehensive characterization of two-phase flow in an operating fuel cell which can be used towards the optimization of water management and informs design guidelines for gas delivery microchannels for fuel cells and its essential in the design and control of diverse applications. The approach will combine numerical modeling with experimental visualization and measurements.

Keywords: polymer electrolyte fuel cell, air-water two phase flow, gas diffusion layer, microchannels, advancing contact angle, receding contact angle, void fraction, surface tension, image processing

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5504 Defects Analysis, Components Distribution, and Properties Simulation in the Fuel Cells and Batteries by 2D and 3D Characterization Techniques

Authors: Amir Peyman Soleymani, Jasna Jankovic


The augmented demand of the clean and renewable energy has necessitated the fuel cell and battery industries to produce more efficient devices at the lower prices, which can be achieved through the improvement of the electrode. Microstructural characterization, as one of the main materials development tools, plays a pivotal role in the production of better clean energy devices. In this study, methods for characterization and studying of the defects and components distribution were performed on the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) and Li-ion battery (LIB) electrodes in 2D and 3D. The particles distribution, porosity, mechanical defects, and component distribution were studied by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), SEM-Focused Ion Beam (SEM-FIB), and Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope equipped with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (STEM-EDS). The 3D results obtained from X-ray Computed Tomography (XCT) revealed the pathways for electron and ion conductivity and defects progression maps. Computer-aided methods (Avizo) were employed to simulate the properties and performance of the microstructure in the electrodes. The suggestions were provided to improve the performance of PEMFCs and LIBs by adjusting the microstructure and the distribution of the components in the electrodes.

Keywords: PEM fuel cells, Li-ion batteries, 2D and 3D imaging, materials characterizations

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5503 Experimental Investigation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells Operated with Nano Fiber and Nano Fiber/Nano Particle

Authors: Kevser Dincer, Basma Waisi, M. Ozan Ozdemir, Ugur Pasaogullari, Jeffrey McCutcheon


Nanofibers are defined as fibers with diameters less than 100 nanometers. They can be produced by interfacial polymerization, electrospinning and electrostatic spinning. In this study, behaviours of activated carbon nano fiber (ACNF), carbon nano-fiber (CNF), Polyacrylonitrile/carbon nanotube (PAN/CNT), Polyvinyl alcohol/nano silver (PVA/Ag) in PEM fuel cells are investigated experimentally. This material was used as gas diffusion layer (GDL) in PEM fuel cells. When the performances of these cells are compared to each other at 5x5 cm2 cell, it is found that the PVA/Ag exhibits the best performance among all. In this work, nano fiber and nano fiber/nano particles electrical conductivities have been studied to understand their effects on PEM fuel cell performance. According to the experimental results, the maximum electrical conductivity performance of the fuel cell with nanofiber was found to be at PVA/Ag. The electrical conductivities of CNF, ACNF, PAN/CNT are lower for PEM. The resistance of cell with PVA/Ag is lower than the resistance of cell with PAN/CNT, ACNF, CNF.

Keywords: proton exchange membrane fuel cells, electrospinning, carbon nano fiber, activate carbon nano-fiber, PVA fiber, PAN fiber, carbon nanotube, nano particle nanocomposites

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5502 Numerical Study on Response of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFCs) with Defects under Different Load Conditions

Authors: Muhammad Faizan Chinannai, Jaeseung Lee, Mohamed Hassan Gundu, Hyunchul Ju


Fuel cell is known to be an effective renewable energy resource which is commercializing in the present era. It is really important to know about the improvement in performance even when the system faces some defects. This study was carried out to analyze the performance of the Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFCs) under different operating conditions such as current density, relative humidity and Pt loadings considering defects with load changes. The purpose of this study is to analyze the response of the fuel cell system with defects in Balance of Plants (BOPs) and catalyst layer (CL) degradation by maintaining the coolant flow rate as such to preserve the cell temperature at the required level. Multi-Scale Simulation of 3D two-phase PEFC model with coolant was carried out under different load conditions. For detailed analysis and performance comparison, extensive contours of temperature, current density, water content, and relative humidity are provided. The simulation results of the different cases are compared with the reference data. Hence the response of the fuel cell stack with defects in BOP and CL degradations can be analyzed by the temperature difference between the coolant outlet and membrane electrode assembly. The results showed that the Failure of the humidifier increases High-Frequency Resistance (HFR), air flow defects and CL degradation results in the non-uniformity of current density distribution and high cathode activation overpotential, respectively.

Keywords: PEM fuel cell, fuel cell modeling, performance analysis, BOP components, current density distribution, degradation

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5501 Nafion Nanofiber Mat in a Single Fuel Cell Test

Authors: Chijioke Okafor, Malik Maaza, Touhami Mokrani


Proton exchange membrane, PEM was developed and tested for potential application in fuel cell. Nafion was electrospun to nanofiber network with the aid of poly(ethylene oxide), PEO, as a carrier polymer. The matrix polymer was crosslinked with Norland Optical Adhesive 63 under UV after compacting and annealing. The welded nanofiber mat was characterized for morphology, proton conductivity, and methanol permeability, then tested in a single cell test station. The results of the fabricated nanofiber membrane showed a proton conductivity of 0.1 S/cm at 25 oC and higher fiber volume fraction; methanol permeability of 3.6x10^-6 cm2/s and power density of 96.1 and 81.2 mW/cm2 for 5M and 1M methanol concentration respectively.

Keywords: fuel cell, nafion, nanofiber, permeability

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5500 Anion Exchange Nanocomposite Membrane Doped with ZnO-Nanoparticles for Direct Methanol Alkaline Fuel Cell

Authors: Phumlani Msomi, Patrick Nonjola, Patrick Ndungu, James Ramontja


A series of quaternized poly (2.6 dimethyl – 1.4 phenylene oxide)/ polysulfone (QPPO/PSF) blend anion exchange membrane (AEM) were successfully fabricated and characterized for methanol alkaline fuel cell application. Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were introduced in the polymer matrix to enhance the intrinsic properties of the AEM. To confirm successful fabrication, FT-IR spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (¹H NMR and HMBC ¹⁵N NMR) were used. The membrane properties were enhanced by the addition of ZnO nanoparticles. The addition of ZnO nanoparticles resulted to a higher ion exchange capacity (IEC) of 3.72 mmol.g⁻¹and a 30-fold ion conductivity (IC) increase of the nanocomposite due to no (zero (0)) methanol permeability at 30 °C and increased water uptake. The QPPO/PSF/2% ZnO composite retained over 80 % of its initial IC when evaluated for alkaline stability at room temperature. The maximum power output reached for the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) constructed with QPPO/PSF/2%ZnO is 69⁻², which is about three times more than the parent QPPO membrane. The above results indicate that QPPO/PSF-ZnO is a good candidate as an anion exchange membrane for fuel cell application.

Keywords: anion exchange membrane, fuel cell, zinc oxide, nanocomposite

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5499 Solid Polymer Electrolyte Membranes Based on Siloxane Matrix

Authors: Natia Jalagonia, Tinatin Kuchukhidze


Polymer electrolytes (PE) play an important part in electrochemical devices such as batteries and fuel cells. To achieve optimal performance, the PE must maintain a high ionic conductivity and mechanical stability at both high and low relative humidity. The polymer electrolyte also needs to have excellent chemical stability for long and robustness. According to the prevailing theory, ionic conduction in polymer electrolytes is facilitated by the large-scale segmental motion of the polymer backbone, and primarily occurs in the amorphous regions of the polymer electrolyte. Crystallinity restricts polymer backbone segmental motion and significantly reduces conductivity. Consequently, polymer electrolytes with high conductivity at room temperature have been sought through polymers which have highly flexible backbones and have largely amorphous morphology. The interest in polymer electrolytes was increased also by potential applications of solid polymer electrolytes in high energy density solid state batteries, gas sensors and electrochromic windows. Conductivity of 10-3 S/cm is commonly regarded as a necessary minimum value for practical applications in batteries. At present, polyethylene oxide (PEO)-based systems are most thoroughly investigated, reaching room temperature conductivities of 10-7 S/cm in some cross-linked salt in polymer systems based on amorphous PEO-polypropylene oxide copolymers.. It is widely accepted that amorphous polymers with low glass transition temperatures Tg and a high segmental mobility are important prerequisites for high ionic conductivities. Another necessary condition for high ionic conductivity is a high salt solubility in the polymer, which is most often achieved by donors such as ether oxygen or imide groups on the main chain or on the side groups of the PE. It is well established also that lithium ion coordination takes place predominantly in the amorphous domain, and that the segmental mobility of the polymer is an important factor in determining the ionic mobility. Great attention was pointed to PEO-based amorphous electrolyte obtained by synthesis of comb-like polymers, by attaching short ethylene oxide unit sequences to an existing amorphous polymer backbone. The aim of presented work is to obtain of solid polymer electrolyte membranes using PMHS as a matrix. For this purpose the hydrosilylation reactions of α,ω-bis(trimethylsiloxy)methyl¬hydrosiloxane with allyl triethylene-glycol mo¬nomethyl ether and vinyltriethoxysilane at 1:28:7 ratio of initial com¬pounds in the presence of Karstedt’s catalyst, platinum hydrochloric acid (0.1 M solution in THF) and platinum on the carbon catalyst in 50% solution of anhydrous toluene have been studied. The synthesized olygomers are vitreous liquid products, which are well soluble in organic solvents with specific viscosity ηsp ≈ 0.05 - 0.06. The synthesized olygomers were analysed with FTIR, 1H, 13C, 29Si NMR spectroscopy. Synthesized polysiloxanes were investigated with wide-angle X-ray, gel-permeation chromatography, and DSC analyses. Via sol-gel processes of doped with lithium trifluoromethylsulfonate (triflate) or lithium bis¬(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)¬imide polymer systems solid polymer electrolyte membranes have been obtained. The dependence of ionic conductivity as a function of temperature and salt concentration was investigated and the activation energies of conductivity for all obtained compounds are calculated

Keywords: synthesis, PMHS, membrane, electrolyte

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5498 Effect of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Fuel Cell Membrane Performance

Authors: Rabindranath Jana, Biswajit Maity, Keka Rana


The most promising clean energy source is the fuel cell, since it does not generate toxic gases and other hazardous compounds. Again the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is more user-friendly as it is easy to be miniaturized and suited as energy source for automobiles as well as domestic applications and portable devices. And unlike the hydrogen used for some fuel cells, methanol is a liquid that is easy to store and transport in conventional tanks. The most important part of a fuel cell is its membrane. Till now, an overall efficiency for a methanol fuel cell is reported to be about 20 ~ 25%. The lower efficiency of the cell may be due to the critical factors, e.g. slow reaction kinetics at the anode and methanol crossover. The oxidation of methanol is composed of a series of successive reactions creating formaldehyde and formic acid as intermediates that contribute to slow reaction rates and decreased cell voltage. Currently, the investigation of new anode catalysts to improve oxidation reaction rates is an active area of research as it applies to the methanol fuel cell. Surprisingly, there are very limited reports on nanostructured membranes, which are rather simple to manufacture with different tuneable compositions and are expected to allow only the proton permeation but not the methanol due to their molecular sizing effects and affinity to the membrane surface. We have developed a nanostructured fuel cell membrane from polydimethyl siloxane rubber (PDMS), ethylene methyl co-acrylate (EMA) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). The effect of incorporating different proportions of f-MWNTs in polymer membrane has been studied. The introduction of f-MWNTs in polymer matrix modified the polymer structure, and therefore the properties of the device. The proton conductivity, measured by an AC impedance technique using open-frame and two-electrode cell and methanol permeability of the membranes was found to be dependent on the f-MWNTs loading. The proton conductivity of the membranes increases with increase in concentration of f-MWNTs concentration due to increased content of conductive materials. Measured methanol permeabilities at 60oC were found to be dependant on loading of f-MWNTs. The methanol permeability decreased from 1.5 x 10-6 cm²/s for pure film to 0.8 x 10-7 cm²/s for a membrane containing 0.5wt % f-MWNTs. This is due to increasing proportion of f-MWNTs, the matrix becomes more compact. From DSC melting curves it is clear that the polymer matrix with f-MWNTs is thermally stable. FT-IR studies show good interaction between EMA and f-MWNTs. XRD analysis shows good crystalline behavior of the prepared membranes. Significant cost savings can be achieved when using the blended films which contain less expensive polymers.

Keywords: fuel cell membrane, polydimethyl siloxane rubber, carbon nanotubes, proton conductivity, methanol permeability

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5497 Development of Solid Electrolytes Based on Networked Cellulose

Authors: Boor Singh Lalia, Yarjan Abdul Samad, Raed Hashaikeh


Three different kinds of solid polymer electrolytes were prepared using polyethylene oxide (PEO) as a base polymer, networked cellulose (NC) as a physical support and LiClO4 as a conductive salt for the electrolytes. Networked cellulose, a modified form of cellulose, is a biodegradable and environmentally friendly additive which provides a strong fibrous networked support for structural stability of the electrolytes. Although the PEO/NC/LiClO4 electrolyte retains its structural integrity and mechanical properties at 100oC as compared to pristine PEO-based polymer electrolytes, it suffers from poor ionic conductivity. To improve the room temperature conductivity of the electrolyte, PEO is replaced by the polyethylene glycol (PEG) which is a liquid phase that provides high mobility for Li+ ions transport in the electrolyte. PEG/NC/LiClO4 shows improvement in ionic conductivity compared to PEO/NC/LiClO4 at room temperature, but it is brittle and tends to form cracks during processing. An advanced solid polymer electrolyte with optimum ionic conductivity and mechanical properties is developed by using a ternary system: TEGDME/PEO/NC+LiClO4. At room temperature, this electrolyte exhibits an ionic conductivity to the order of 10-5 S/cm, which is very high compared to that of the PEO/LiClO4 electrolyte. Pristine PEO electrolytes start melting at 65 °C and completely lose its mechanical strength. Dynamic mechanical analysis of TEGDME: PEO: NC (70:20:10 wt%) showed an improvement of storage modulus as compared to the pristine PEO in the 60–120 °C temperature range. Also, with an addition of NC, the electrolyte retains its mechanical integrity at 100 oC which is beneficial for Li-ion battery operation at high temperatures. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermal gravimetry analysis (TGA) studies revealed that the ternary polymer electrolyte is thermally stable in the lithium ion battery operational temperature range. As-prepared polymer electrolyte was used to assemble LiFePO4/ TEGDME/PEO/NC+LiClO4/Li half cells and their electrochemical performance was studied via cyclic voltammetry and charge-discharge cycling.

Keywords: solid polymer electrolyte, ionic conductivity, mechanical properties, lithium ion batteries, cyclic voltammetry

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5496 Physicochemical Characterization of Low Sulfonated Polyether Ether Ketone/ Layered Double Hydroxide/Sepiolite Hybrid to Improve the Performance of Sulfonated Poly Ether Ether Ketone Composite Membranes for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Authors: Zakaria Ahmed, Khaled Charradi, Sherif M. A. S. Keshk, Radhouane Chtourou


Sulfonated poly ether ether ketone (SPEEK) with a low sulfonation degree was blended using nanofiller Layered Double Hydroxide (LDH, Mg2AlCl) /sepiolite nanostructured material as additive to use as an electrolyte membrane for fuel cell application. Characterization assessments, i.e., mechanical stability, thermal gravimetric analysis, ion exchange capability, swelling properties, water uptake capacities, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy analysis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) of the composite membranes were conducted. The presence of LDH/sepiolite nanoarchitecture material within SPEEK was found to have the highest water retention and proton conductivity value at high temperature rather than LDH/SPEEK and pristine SPEEK membranes.

Keywords: SPEEK, sepiolite clay, LDH clay, proton exchange membrane

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5495 Indium Oxide/Scandium Doping Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia Composite Films as Electrolytes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Authors: Yong-Jie Lin, Yi-Feng Lin


In this study, scandium-doped yttria-stabilized zirconia (ScYSZ) and In2O3 nanoparticles (NPs) with cubic crystalline structures were successfully prepared using a facile hydrothermal process. ScYSZ films were prepared by the pressing of ScYSZ NPs and were further used for the electrolyte of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). To increase the ionic conductivity of the ScYSZ electrolyte, different amounts of In2O3 NPs [0 wt% (X(In2O3)=0), 0.21 wt% (X(In2O3)=0.001) and 1.13 wt% (X(In2O3)=0.005)] were doped in the ScYSZ films to increase their oxygen vacancy. The result shows In2O3 NP/ScYSZ films with 1.13 wt% (X(In2O3 )=0.005) In2O3 NPs doping are with largest ionic conductivity of 0.057Ω-1 cm-1 at 900oC, which is 1.6 and 1.8 times higher than YSZ and In2O3 NP/ScYSZ films with 0.21 wt% (X(In2O3)=0.001) In2O3 NPs doping, respectively.

Keywords: indium oxide/scandium doping Yttria-stabilized zirconia, solid oxide fuel cells, scandium-doped yttria-stabilized zirconia, indium oxide

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5494 Modification of Polyolefin Membrane Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide for Redox Flow Batteries

Authors: Vadim V. Zefirov, Victor E. Sizov, Marina A. Pigaleva, Igor V. Elmanovich, Mikhail S. Kondratenko, Marat O. Gallyamov


This work presents a novel method for treating porous hydrophobic polyolefin membranes using supercritical carbon dioxide that allows usage of the modified membrane in redox flow batteries with an aqueous electrolyte. Polyolefin membranes are well known and widely used, however, they cannot be used as separators in redox flow batteries with an aqueous electrolyte since they have insufficient wettability, and therefore do not provide sufficient proton conductivity. The main aim of the presented work was the development of hydrophilic composites based on cheap membranes and precursors. Supercritical fluid was used as a medium for the deposition of the hydrophilic phase on the hydrophobic surface of the membrane. Due to the absence of negative capillary effects in a supercritical medium, a homogeneous composite is obtained as a result of synthesis. The in-situ synthesized silicon oxide nanoparticles and the chitosan polymer layer act as the hydrophilic phase and not only increase the affinity of the membrane towards the electrolyte, but also reduce the pore size of the polymer matrix, which positively affects the ion selectivity of the membrane. The composite material obtained as a result of synthesis has enhanced hydrophilic properties and is capable of providing proton conductivity in redox flow batteries. The morphology of the obtained composites was characterized by electron microscopy. To analyze the phase composition, infrared spectroscopy was used. The hydrophilic properties were studied by water contact angle measurements. In addition, the proton conductivity and ion selectivity of the obtained samples were studied, and tests in real redox flow batteries were performed. As a result, modified membrane was characterised in detail and moreover it was shown that modified cheap polyolefin membranes have pronounced proton conductivity and high ion selectivity, so their performance in a real redox flow battery approaches expensive commercial analogues, reaching 70% of energy efficiency.

Keywords: carbon dioxide, chitosan, polymer membrane, redox flow batteries, silica nanoparticles, supercritical fluid

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