The perfect fuel-cell membrane remains elusive

Categorie(s) : News, Research

Published : 3 October 2021

Tomorrow’s clean vehicles will run on hydrogen fuel cells. But what will the membranes inside those fuel cells be made of?
We don’t know…at least not yet!
Nafion is often cited as a front-runner. But the material’s mechanical properties suffer at temperatures above 100 °C. Scientists at Irig investigating alternatives are getting some encouraging results with sPEEK, an ionic polymer.
Unlike Nafion, sPEEK can stand up to high temperatures. However, inside a fuel cell it oxidizes too rapidly. Here, it was hybridized with a stabilizing sol-gel precursor. The hybridized sPEEK performs better in a fuel cell stack than sPEEK alone, and accelerated aging tests in the lab look promising.
The sol-gel precursor is used up over time, so the researchers are looking at ways to regenerate it.


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