International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.45, No.8, 5430-5437, 2020
Investigation of the effects of SPEEK and its clay composite membranes on the performance of Direct Borohydride Fuel Cell
In this study, composite cation exchange membranes (CEM) were developed. With the experience from widely studied proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), sulfonated polyether ether ketone (SPEEK) was prepared to be a more effective and cheaper ionomer alternative to the industry standard Nation. SPEEK polymer membrane can reach sufficient ionic conductivities but have some mechanical and chemical stability problems (at a high degree of sulfonations (DS)). Therefore, in order to optimize the membrane, composite mixing with a well-known organic/inorganic clays called Cloisite (R) 15A, Cloisite (R) 308 and MMT were used. Test cells for both single-cell and conductivity were designed and constructed. The ionic conductivity cell was different than the ones used in most studies, measuring conductivity in-plane with 4 probes using EIS. The membranes were characterized for their proton conductivity with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), for DS with H NMR, water uptake, and fuel cell performance tests. First results showed that the acidic sulfonic groups of SPEEK interacted with organic/inorganic clays and as a result of partial barrier the ionic conductivity was decreased but power densities were increased. SPEEK-Cloisite (R) 30B composite membrane has given 40 mW/cm(2) power density value which is higher than pure SPEEK membrane (35 mW/cm(2)). The proton conductivities of the final composite membranes were close to bare SPEEK membranes which are 0,065 and 0,075 S/cm for SPEEK-Cloisite (R) 30B and pristine SPEEK, respectively. (C) 2019 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.