Introducing catalyst in alkaline membrane for improved performance direct borohydride fuel cells

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Abstract

A catalytic material is introduced into the polymer matrix to prepare a novel polymeric alkaline electrolyte membrane (AEM) which simultaneously increases ionic conductivity, reduces the fuel cross-over. In this work, the hydroxide anion exchange membrane is mainly composed of poly(vinylalcohol) and alkaline exchange resin. CoCl2 is added into the poly(vinylalcohol) and alkaline exchange resin gel before casting the membrane to introduce catalytic materials. CoCl2 is converted into CoOOH after the reaction with KOH solution. The crystallinity of the polymer matrix decreases and the ionic conductivity of the composite membrane is notably improved by the introduction of Co-species. A direct borohydride fuel cell using the composite membrane exhibits an open circuit voltage of 1.11 V at 30 °C, which is notably higher than that of cells using other AEMs. The cell using the composite membrane achieves a maximum power density of 283 mW cm−2 at 60 °C while the cell using the membrane without Co-species only reaches 117 mW cm−2 at the same conditions. The outstanding performance of the cell using the composite membrane benefits from impregnation of the catalytic Co-species in the membrane, which not only increases the ionic conductivity but also reduces electrode polarization thus improves the fuel cell performance. This work provides a new approach to develop high-performance fuel cells through adding catalysts in the electrolyte membrane.

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Qin, H., Lin, L., Chu, W., Jiang, W., He, Y., Shi, Q., … Tao, S. (2018). Introducing catalyst in alkaline membrane for improved performance direct borohydride fuel cells. Journal of Power Sources, 374, 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2017.11.008

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