Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells are an efficient and clean alternative power source, but high cost impedes widespread commercialization. The fuel cell membrane, e.g., Nafion, contributes significantly to this cost, and therefore, novel alternatives are required. Temperature is also an important factor; high temperature operation leads to faster reaction kinetics, lower electrocatalyst loading, and improved water management, thereby further reducing cost. However, higher temperature puts greater demands on the membrane. Conductivity is related strongly to humidification, and therefore, this generally decreases above 100 °C. Nanocellulose membranes for fuel cells in which the proton conductivity increases up to 120 °C are reported here for the first time. The hydrogen barrier properties are far superior to conventional ionomer membranes. Fuel cells with nanocellulose membranes are successfully operated at 80 °C. Additionally, these membranes are environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Chemistry