Anion conductivity of cation exchange membranes in aqueous supporting electrolytes

Hongying Tang, David Aili, Ramato Ashu Tufa, Mikkel Rykaer Kraglund, Qiqi Wu, Chao Pan, Lars N. Cleemann, Qingfeng Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Cation exchange membranes are used for electrochemical reduction of CO2 in alkaline media, where the anion conductivity of hydroxide (OH) and bicarbonate (HCO3) are essential for the process. Any partial conductivity of anionic species containing CO2 (i.e. bicarbonate (HCO3) or carbonate (CO32−) ions) causes parasitic transport of CO2, a critical issue for the technology. In this work, the anion conductivity of cation exchange membranes contacted with alkaline support electrolytes is experimentally studied in a hydrogen pumping electrolysis cell. The total conductivity of the membranes is calculated from the resistance measured by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, while the partial anion conductivity is obtained from the steady state I-V polarization for the hydrogen oxidation and evolution process. For membranes in the acid form, the two measurements give identical values of the conductivity in pure water. For membranes contacted with aqueous solutions of KHCO3 or KOH of concentrations up to 2.5 M the anion (OH or HCO3) partial conductivity is estimated to be about 1% of the total conductivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115984
JournalSolid State Ionics
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cation exchange membranes
  • Anion conductivity
  • Cation conductivity
  • CO2 reduction
  • Hydrogen pumping


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