Nanomaterials for Improving the Properties of Polymeric Electrolyte Membranes in Energy Managing Devices
Liliane C. Battirola and Jose J. Linares
Affiliation: Instituto de Química de Sao Carlos, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Av. Trabalhador SaoCarlense, 400 CP 780, 13560-970 São Carlos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Keywords: DAFC, Energy Managing Devices, Nanocomponents, Nanostructured membranes, PEMFC.
Nanomaterials are receiving great attention in terms of research and development over the past few years in
Polymeric Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) for Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers applications. The addition of inorganic
nanofillers (SiO2, ZrO,sub>2 and TiO2), clays (montmorrillonite, bentonite, etc.), heteropolyacids (including cesium salts) and
carbon nanotubes to the membrane structure have demonstrated to be ways of enhancing the system performance. In H2-
based PEMFC, the water retention capacity can be significantly increased, opening up the possibility of operating the
system above the water boiling point under low humidity conditions without a dramatic drop in the performance. In Direct
Alcohol Fuel Cell (DAFC), its application intends to address the detrimental alcohol crossover that depolarizes the
cathode without inadmissibly depressing the membrane conductivity. Good results can be obtained when including SiO2
and TiO2 nanoparticles, metallic nanoparticles, zeolites and clays such as plain and sulfonated-montmorillonite. For high
temperature PEMFC based on phosphoric acid-doped polybenzimdazole, the presence of the nanocomponents helps to
achieve higher conductivities compared to the pristine material under severe anhydrous conditions, which is reflected in
larger power density peaks. Finally, a section for the PEM electrolyzer depicts the importance of SiO2 and TiO2
nanoparticles for improving the performance of this system without the additional consumption of electricity by allowing
the operation above 100 °C.
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