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Materials 2016, 9(3), 143; doi:10.3390/ma9030143

Electrospun Nafion®/Polyphenylsulfone Composite Membranes for Regenerative Hydrogen Bromine Fuel Cells

1
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA
2
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dong Hong
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 29 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospun Materials)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4467 KB, uploaded 29 February 2016]   |  

Abstract

The regenerative H2/Br2-HBr fuel cell, utilizing an oxidant solution of Br2 in aqueous HBr, shows a number of benefits for grid-scale electricity storage. The membrane-electrode assembly, a key component of a fuel cell, contains a proton-conducting membrane, typically based on the perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) ionomer. Unfortunately, the high cost of PFSA membranes and their relatively high bromine crossover are serious drawbacks. Nanofiber composite membranes can overcome these limitations. In this work, composite membranes were prepared from electrospun dual-fiber mats containing Nafion® PFSA ionomer for facile proton transport and an uncharged polymer, polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), for mechanical reinforcement, and swelling control. After electrospinning, Nafion/PPSU mats were converted into composite membranes by softening the PPSU fibers, through exposure to chloroform vapor, thus filling the voids between ionomer nanofibers. It was demonstrated that the relative membrane selectivity, referenced to Nafion® 115, increased with increasing PPSU content, e.g., a selectivity of 11 at 25 vol% of Nafion fibers. H2-Br2 fuel cell power output with a 65 μm thick membrane containing 55 vol% Nafion fibers was somewhat better than that of a 150 μm Nafion® 115 reference, but its cost advantage due to a four-fold decrease in PFSA content and a lower bromine species crossover make it an attractive candidate for use in H2/Br2-HBr systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: proton conducting membrane; electrospinning; Nafion; polyphenylsulfone; redox flow battery; regenerative fuel cell; hydrogen fuel cell; bromine proton conducting membrane; electrospinning; Nafion; polyphenylsulfone; redox flow battery; regenerative fuel cell; hydrogen fuel cell; bromine
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Park, J.W.; Wycisk, R.; Pintauro, P.N.; Yarlagadda, V.; Van Nguyen, T. Electrospun Nafion®/Polyphenylsulfone Composite Membranes for Regenerative Hydrogen Bromine Fuel Cells. Materials 2016, 9, 143.

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