Direct borohydride fuel cells (DBFC), which operate on sodium borohydride (NaBH4) as the fuel, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as the oxidant, are receiving increasing attention. This is due to their promising use as power sources for space
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Direct borohydride fuel cells (DBFC), which operate on sodium borohydride (NaBH4
) as the fuel, and hydrogen peroxide (H2
) as the oxidant, are receiving increasing attention. This is due to their promising use as power sources for space and underwater applications, where air is not available and gas storage poses obvious problems. One key factor to improve the performance of DBFCs concerns the type of separator used. Both anion- and cation-exchange membranes may be considered as potential separators for DBFC. In the present paper, the effect of the membrane type on the performance of laboratory NaBH4
fuel cells using Pt electrodes is studied at room temperature. Two commercial ion-exchange membranes from Membranes International Inc., an anion-exchange membrane (AMI-7001S) and a cation-exchange membrane (CMI-7000S), are tested as ionic separators for the DBFC. The membranes are compared directly by the observation and analysis of the corresponding DBFC’s performance. Cell polarization, power density, stability, and durability tests are used in the membranes’ evaluation. Energy densities and specific capacities are estimated. Most tests conducted, clearly indicate a superior performance of the cation-exchange membranes over the anion-exchange membrane. The two membranes are also compared with several other previously tested commercial membranes. For long term cell operation, these membranes seem to outperform the stability of the benchmark Nafion membranes but further studies are still required to improve their instantaneous power load.