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Durable, Low-cost, Improved Fuel Cell Membranes

Description: The development of low cost, durable membranes and membranes electrode assemblies (MEAs) that operate under reduced relative humidity (RH) conditions remain a critical challenge for the successful introduction of fuel cells into mass markets. It was the goal of the team lead by Arkema, Inc. to address these shortages. Thus, this project addresses the following technical barriers from the fuel cells section of the Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan: (A) Durability (B) Cost Arkema’s approach consisted of using blends of polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) and proprietary sulfonated polyelectrolytes. In the traditional approach to polyelectrolytes for proton exchange membranes (PEM), all the required properties are “packaged” in one macromolecule. The properties of interest include proton conductivity, mechanical properties, durability, and water/gas transport. This is the case, for example, for perfluorosulfonic acid-containing (PFSA) membranes. However, the cost of these materials is high, largely due to the complexity and the number of steps involved in their synthesis. In addition, they suffer other shortcomings such as mediocre mechanical properties and insufficient durability for some applications. The strength and originality of Arkema’s approach lies in the decoupling of ion conductivity from the other requirements. Kynar® PVDF provides an exceptional combination of properties that make it ideally suited for a membrane matrix (Kynar® is a registered trademark of Arkema Inc.). It exhibits outstanding chemical resistance in highly oxidative and acidic environments. In work with a prior grant, a membrane known as M41 was developed by Arkema. M41 had many of the properties needed for a high performance PEM, but had a significant deficiency in conductivity at low RH. In the first phase of this work, the processing parameters of M41 were explored as a means to increase its proton conductivity. Optimizing the processing of M41 was found to increase its ...
Date: March 17, 2011
Creator: Roger, Chris; Mountz, David; He, Wensheng & Zhang, Tao
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of a Low-Cost, Durable Membrane and MEA for Stationary and Mobile Fuel Cell Applications

Description: The development of low cost, durable membranes and membranes electrode assemblies (MEAs) remain a critical challenge for the successful introduction of fuel cells into mass markets. It was the goal of the team lead by Arkema, Inc. (formerly Atofina, Inc.) to address these shortages. Thus, this project addresses the following technical barriers from the Fuel Cells section of the Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan: (A) Durability (B) Cost Arkema’s approach consisted in using blends of polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) and proprietary sulfonated polyelectrolytes. The strength and originality of Arkema’s approach lies in the decoupling of ion conductivity from the other requirements. Kynar® (Arkema trade name for PVDF) provides an exceptional combination of properties that make it ideally suited for a membrane matrix. In a first phase, Arkema demonstrated the feasibility of the concept with the M31 membrane generation. After MEA optimization, it was shown that the beginning-of-life (BOL) performance of M31 MEAs was essentially on a par with that of PFSA MEAs at 60ºC under fully humidified conditions. On the other hand, long-term durability studies showed a high decay rate of 45µV/h over a 2100 hr. test. Arkema then designed several families of polyelectrolyte candidates, which – in principle – could not undergo the same failure mechanisms. A new membrane candidate was developed: M41. It offered the same generally good mechanical, ex-situ conductivity and gas barrier properties as M31. In addition, ex-situ accelerated testing suggested a several orders of magnitude improvement in chemical stability. M41 based MEAs showed comparable BOL performance with that of PFSA (80ºC, 100% RH). M41 MEAs were further shown to be able to withstand several hours temperature excursions at 120ºC without apparent damage. Accelerated studies were carried out using the DOE and/or US Fuel Cell Council protocols. M41 MEAs shown ...
Date: January 31, 2008
Creator: Foure, Michel; Gaboury, Scott; Goldbach, Jim; Mountz, David & Yi, Jung
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department