Polysulfone-polyvinylpyrrolidone blend membranes as electrolytes in alkaline water electrolysis

David Aili*, Mikkel Rykær Kraglund, Joe Tavacoli, Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou, Jens Oluf Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Development of thin, dense and robust alkaline polymer membranes with high hydroxide ion conductivity is key to advanced alkaline electrolysis as it can enable operation at higher current density and/or efficiency, while improving the dynamic response of the electrolyzer. In this work, a homogeneous blend membrane system based on poly(arylene ether sulfone) (PSU) and poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) is explored as an alkaline ion-solvating polymer matrix. Increasing PVP content in the blend drastically increases electrolyte uptake, and at PVP contents higher than 45 wt%, the membrane can support ion conductivity in a technologically relevant range of 10–100 mS cm-1 or even higher when equilibrated in 20 wt% aqueous KOH. The membrane system is extensively characterized throughout the full composition range and the down-selected composition composed of 25% PSU and 75% PVP is employed in a single cell lab-scale water electrolyzer, showing excellent performance and stability during the course of one week at 500 mA cm-2 at 60 °C in 20 wt% KOH. Good performance stability was demonstrated for more than 700 h at 80 °C, but the gradually increasing KOH concentration due to evaporative loss of water resulted in membrane degradation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117674
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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