Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Brings Goal Of A High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Closer

Date:
May 6, 2004
Source:
Sandia National Laboratories
Summary:
A new type of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) is being developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories to help bring the goal of a micro fuel cell closer to realization using diverse fuels like glucose, methanol, and hydrogen.

SANDIA RESEARCHERS Cy Fujimoto, left, and Chris Cornelius hold a test micro fuel cell with the Sandia membrane. Next to Fujimoto is a micro fuel test station.
Credit: Photo by Randy Montoya / courtesy Sandia National Laboratories

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A new type of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) is being developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories to help bring the goal of a micro fuel cell closer to realization using diverse fuels like glucose, methanol, and hydrogen.

This Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Alternative (SPEA) could help fulfill the need for new, uninterrupted autonomous power sources for sensors, communications, microelectronics, healthcare applications, and transportation.

The membrane research is one part of a three-year internally funded Bio-Micro Fuel Cell Grand Challenge led by Chris Apblett, Sandia principal investigator, and Kent Schubert, Sandia project manager.

Recently the membrane research team headed by Sandia researcher Chris Cornelius demonstrated that the new SPEA could operate as high as 140 degrees C and produce a peak power of 1.1 watts per square centimeter at 2 amps per square centimeter at 80 degrees C. Under identical operating conditions, the SPEA material can deliver higher power outputs with methanol and hydrogen than Nafion. Nafion is recognized as the state-of-art PEM material for fuel cells.

Because the SPEA material can operate at elevated temperatures, it enables several key benefits that Nafion cannot provide. These advances include smaller fuel cell stacks because of better heat rejection, enhanced water management, and significant resistance to carbon monoxide poisoning. These performance properties suggest that the SPEA material may be a potential alternative to Nafion.

Cornelius notes that a higher temperature PEM material is one of the goals of the DOE's Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program. http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/. One milestone is to develop by 2005 polymer electrolyte membranes for automotive applications that operate at 120 degrees C for 2,000 hours with low membrane interfacial resistance.

Of the new SPEA material that Cornelius and Sandia researcher Cy Fujimoto developed, Cornelius says, "Validation of this material as a Nafion alternative would be a significant achievement, an accomplishment we strongly desire."

A polymer electrolyte membrane is a critical component of a working fuel cell. Its function is to conduct protons efficiently and possess low fuel crossover properties. It must also be robust enough to be assembled into a fuel cell stack and have long life.

In developing the SPEA material, the team looked at the success and limitations of other PEM alternatives in order to develop a set of characteristics for their model material.

"At the beginning of this project we were considering several polymer families for a PEM alternative, including a family of polyphenylenes," Cornelius says. "When the physical properties of one of the polyphenylenes being considered as a polymer electrolyte was improved and integrated into a working fuel cell, we happily discovered that it works extremely well compared to Nafion."

Cornelius says that the SPEA material he and Fujimoto are developing "may be an enabling material that could have an impact on the fuel cell community and help Sandia become recognized as a fuel cell research organization."

"We have already completed initial material validation studies of our SPEA with the help of our battery group and Los Alamos National Laboratory," he says.

The next steps, Cornelius says, are to reduce the internal resistance in the fuel cell membrane electrode assembly, optimize catalyst and ionomer composition, improve the properties of the SPEA material, conduct life cycle testing in a fuel cell environment, and assess the potential value for large-scale commercialization of the polymer electrolyte.

Understanding the material's capabilities and limitations are necessary steps in order to potentially improve the physical properties of SPEA material.

"We see this SPEA material as having the potential of being integrated into fuel cells ranging from microwatts to kilowatts," he says. "Such a broad power range means that this Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Alternative could be used in a fuel cell to power everything from sensors, cell phones, laptops, and automobiles."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sandia National Laboratories. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Brings Goal Of A High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Closer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072739.htm>.
Sandia National Laboratories. (2004, May 6). Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Brings Goal Of A High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Closer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072739.htm
Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Brings Goal Of A High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Closer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040506072739.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins