Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are power cells. It can transform the chemical energy produced in the time of electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy. These cells are highly promising energy solutions. They operate at limited temperature ranges like 80 to 90 degrees Celsius or 140 to 180 degrees Celsius.
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianjin Normal University and Tianjin University scientists have recently designed a new type of PEMFCs. This can operate across a far wider range of temperatures. Mainly from -20 to 200 degrees Celsius. The research paper has been published in Nature Energy. The new research can facilitate the widespread use of PEMFC technology and can reduce its fabrication costs.
The aim of the study was to create a membrane that could absorb PA. Scientists wanted to strengthen its ability to capture PA. Scientists leveraged capillary siphoning effect. It is an effect through which liquids can be easily absorbed.
Scientists applied the capillary siphoning effect to a conventional membrane. Scientists decided to fabricate the membrane using Tröger’s base polymers.
Fuel cells work by electrochemically oxidizing fuels. Such as hydrogen in the presence of air or oxygen. It produces electrical energy and water. The proton conductive membrane has PEMFCs and is coated with a catalytic substance on each side. This can trigger electrochemical reactions between the anode and cathode inside a cell.
Scientists used PA-doped ultra-microporous membrane. Scientists fabricated fuel cells that can operate at a broad range of temperatures. This achievement is remarkable. Previously developed PEMFCs can only operate at restricted temperature ranges.
New membrane and cell design can lead to the development of better-performing PEMFCs. It will reduce their fabrication costs. Scientists are planning to apply the capillary siphoning effect to the catalyst layer. It will improve its effectiveness and reduce catalyst loading. Scientists will focus on micro-tuning the size of the membrane’s pores. They will also focus on the distribution of the blending, co-polymerization and crosslinking. This will help to improve the stability and conductivity of the fuel cells further.