Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sandia polymer electrolyte membrane brings goal of a high temperature PEM fuel cell closer

06.05.2004


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. (Photo by Randy Montoya)



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."


Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia media contact: Chris Burroughs, coburro@sandia.gov, 505-844-0948.
Sandia technical contact: Chris Cornelius, cjcorne@sandia.gov, 505-844-6192.

Sandia National Laboratories’ World Wide Web home page is located at http://www.sandia.gov. Sandia news releases, news tips, science photo gallery, and periodicals can be found at the News Center button.

Chris Burroughs | Sandia
Further information:
http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2004/renew-energy-batt/microfuel.html

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter
16.01.2017 | Washington State University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>