Approaches and Recent Development of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes For Fuel Cells Operational Above 100°C: A Review

Qingfeng Li, Ronghuan He, Jens Oluf Jensen, Niels Bjerrum

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The state-of-the-art of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology is based on perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) polymer membranes operating at a typical temperature of 80 °C. Some of the key issues and shortcomings of the PFSA-based PEMFC technology are briefly discussed. These include water management, CO poisoning, hydrogen, reformate and methanol as fuels, cooling, and heat recovery. As a means to solve these shortcomings, hightemperature polymer electrolyte membranes for operation above 100 °C are under active development. This treatise is devoted to a review of the area encompassing modified PFSA membranes, alternative sulfonated polymer and their composite membranes, and acidbase complex membranes. PFSA membranes have been modified by swelling with nonvolatile solvents and preparing composites with hydrophilic oxides and solid proton conductors. DMFC and H2/O2(air) cells based on modified PFSA membranes have been successfully operated at temperatures up to 120 °C under ambient pressure and up to 150 °C under 3-5 atm. Alternative polymers are selected from silicon- and fluorine-containing inorganic polymers or aromatic hydrocarbon polymers and functionalized by sulfonation. The sulfonated hydrocarbons and their inorganic composites are potentially promising for high-temperature operation. High conductivities have been obtained at temperatures up to 180 °C. Acid-base complex membranes constitute another class of electrolyte membranes. A high-temperature PEMFC based on H3PO4-doped PBI has been demonstrated for operation at temperatures up to 200 °C under ambient pressure. The advanced features include high CO tolerance, simple thermal and water management, and possible integration with the fuel processing unit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number26
Pages (from-to)4896-4915
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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