One of the most promising clean energy technologies just got even better.
Researchers from the University of Delaware have developed the most powerful, durable hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cell components on record, which they recently described in the journal Nature Energy. The key ingredient? Membranes made from poly(aryl piperidinium) polymers.
Fuel cells work by converting chemical energy into electricity, and they are a promising source of power for eco-friendly vehicles. A few fuel cell vehicles already exist on the market, including the Toyota Mirai, the Honda Clarity and the Hyundai Nexo, and more fuel cell cars are under development worldwide. The fuel cells in automobiles require the use of an expensive catalyst material, usually platinum, to hasten the chemical reactions inside. These are called proton membrane exchange fuel cells, and they contain membranes made of a fluorinated polymeric material.
For nearly two decades, Yushan Yan, Distinguished Engineering Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been working to develop fuel cells that don’t require platinum catalysts and instead employ cheaper metals, such as silver or nickel. These fuel cells contain hydroxide exchange membranes, which shift the environment within fuel cells from acidic — the current standard — to alkaline. The membrane of the fuel cell is what determines the pH inside.
“We can make components much cheaper by switching from proton exchange membrane fuel cells to hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells,” said Yan. In order to make these membranes, Yan has been on a quest to develop optimal, scalable materials. For this project, Yan enlisted the expertise of another electrochemistry expert at UD — Bingjun Xu, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Hydroxide exchange polymers consist of a long chain, or backbone, and a side chain with a positively charged ion, or cation. In Yan’s past work, the side chains used in hydroxide exchange membranes contained very large positively cations, which made them stable but hindered their conductivity. The backbone material, on the other hand, was inexpensive, but not sufficiently stable.
“The question was: how do you create a new polymer that is stable both for the organic cation and the backbone at the same time, with a small cation?” said Yan.
Using poly(aryl piperidinium) polymers, the team developed hydroxide exchange membranes and ionomers with favorable properties, including good ion conductivity, chemical stability, mechanical robustness, gas separation and selective solubility. When the team tested these materials in a system with only a very small amount of platinum, the fuel cells fed with air had a peak power density of 920 milliwatts per square centimeter and operated in a stable manner at a current density of 500 milliamperes per square centimeter for 300 hours in air at 95 degrees Celsius.
These are the best power and stability stats yet for a hydroxide exchange membrane at above 90 degrees Celsius and the closest anyone has come to the 5000 operating hours that would be required to use this technology in a car.
The team developed a family of polymers, making this technology versatile. “There are a lot of knobs we can turn to deliver different properties,” said Yan. “This is a platform technology.”
Learn more: THE RIGHT POLYMERS FOR THE JOB
The Latest on: Fuel cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Fuel cells
- Element 1 Corp and RIX Industries Partner to Deploy Hydrogen Generators for Fuel Cell Propulsion Systemson October 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Element 1 Corp and RIX Industries Partner to Deploy Hydrogen Generators for Fuel Cell Propulsion Systems for Marine Vessels ...
- Hyundai Xcient fuel-cell trucks hit the road in Europe, headed to America soonon October 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm
Hyundai hopes to build and deliver thousands of hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty trucks to customers in Europe, China and North America over the next decade.
- Hyundai delivers first fuel cell trucks to Switzerlandon October 7, 2020 at 7:55 am
South Korean carmaker Hyundai on Wednesday presented the first seven hydrogen-powered trucks to customers in Switzerland, out of 50 such vehicles scheduled this year to bring zero-emission commercial ...
- Hyundai Delivers First Fuel Cell Xcient Commercial Trucks In Europeon October 7, 2020 at 2:35 am
The shipment involves only seven vehicles, but they represent a big shift in what kinds of commercial trucks Hyundai says it needs to introduce and sell in the coming decades.
- From hydrogen fuel-cells to giant airbags, construction and roadworks are changingon October 6, 2020 at 7:29 am
Infrastructure projects comprise a range of stakeholders, including architects, engineers and construction workers.
- Toyota Is Still Very Serious About Fuel-Cell Electricon October 6, 2020 at 6:30 am
Toyota announced Tuesday that it would be making a Class 8 truck powered by fuel cells and electricity. That is Class 8 as in tractor-trailer sized. It is also intended for the American market.
- Integrated hydrogen storage for fuel cell carson October 6, 2020 at 5:01 am
There is a drive to displace fossil fuels in power generation and transport with sustainable alternatives. One approach that has been discussed over the last few decades is a future zero-carbon, ...
- Toyota Adds to Hydrogen Bet With N. American Fuel-Cell Semion October 5, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Toyota Motor Corp. plans to develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered big rig for the North American market with its subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd.
- Look out, Nikola: Toyota and Hino partner for fuel cell-powered semi truckon October 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Toyota's often teased a possible fuel cell semi, and it's got a partner to help see that through now. Back in 2017, which honestly feels like one or two lifetimes ago, Toyota showed off Project Portal ...
- Toyota to Develop Fuel-Cell Electric Truck for North America Marketon October 5, 2020 at 11:42 am
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday it would develop a heavy-duty fuel-cell electric truck with its subsidiary, Hino Motor Co, for the North American market. The move expands upon Toyota ...
via Bing News