Performance comparison of modified poly(vinyl alcohol) based membranes in alkaline fuel cells
AuthorsNikolić, Vladimir M.
Marčeta Kaninski, Milica
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There are several problems which are holding back the use of fuel cells. The utilization of fuel cells depends on the start-up costs which are very high due to the use of expensive materials for their construction. In that respect, we describe a cost-effective alkaline fuel cell (AFC) that uses solid, polymer based, membrane instead of conventionaly used, highly concentrated, corrosive, liquid alkaline electrolyte. This approach to AFC is potentially the basis of a simple, low-cost system, that can solve one of the problems of the highly-efficient and environment-friendly AFC. The focus of this paper are low cost composite alkaline membranes, based on poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). The PVA matrix is made by solution cast method and gamma irradiation crosslinking. Three different types of membranes are obtained in this manner plain PVA membrane, PVA membrane cross-linked using gamma irradiation (gamma-PVA) and composite PVA membrane doped with Mo (PVA-Mo). These membranes are immersed in th...e alkaline solution and investigated as anion exchange membranes. The performance of the solid alkaline fuel cells (SAFCs) containing these PVA membranes has been studied under hydrogen and oxygen gas flow on the Pt/C catalyst. Both, gamma-PVA and PVA-Mo membranes are modified to absorb larger amounts of alkaline solution than the PVA membrane, thus greatly improving the performance of the SAFC, in terms of output power. This is clearly indicated in the polarisation curves. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements during the SAFC operation were also performed to give better insight in the effect observed. Investigation presented in this paper clearly indicates that solid alkaline PVA membranes can be used for the construction of the SAFCs. Copyright (C) 2011, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.