Poly(perfluorosulfonic acid) (PFSA) is one of a few polymer types that combine excellent alkali resistance with extreme hydrophilicity. It is therefore of interest as a base material in separators for alkaline water electrolyzers. In the pristine form it, however, shows high cation selectivity. To increase its ion conductivity in aqueous KOH, a method for the preparation of porous PFSA membranes was developed. It was based on an approach where PFSA was co-cast with poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) at different ratios to give transparent and colorless blend membranes. The PVP was subsequently dissolved and washed out and the obtained porous materials allowed for swelling to reach water contents up to λ=85 [H2O] [−SO3K]−1. After equilibration in 22 wt% aqueous KOH, ion conductivity of 0.2 S cm−1 was recorded for this membrane type at room temperature, which is significantly higher than 0.01 S cm−1 for the unmodified membrane. The technological feasibility was demonstrated by testing the membranes in an alkaline water electrolysis cell with encouraging performance.
- Poly(perfluorosulfonic acid)
- Water electrolysis