Proton Exchange Polynorbornyl Membrane for a Fuel Cell

Project number: 
UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Academic year: 
This proton exchange membrane (PEM) can be used in fuel cell applications, efficiently providing clean electricity to power items like cars, houses and generators. Fuel cells, along with other electrochemical devices, rely on the electrolyte inside to transfer a charge. By improving the electrolyte’s ability to operate at higher temperatures – up to 200 degrees Celsius – and with minimal external systems, higher conduction rates can be realized.

This functionalization process was developed in the laboratory with small-scale fuel cell testing. The team created a series of chemical baths for the PEM which facilitate amine-phosphate reactions within the polymer that allow for optimal proton conduction rates. The conduction rate was obtained by measuring current and voltage production from the experimental fuel cell using PowerSuite software. The experimental findings were applied to an industrial scale to develop a process that produces 382m2 of functionalized PEM a year.

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