Abstract: Low cost, durable, and selective membranes with high ionic conductivity are a priority need for wide-spread adoption of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Electrolyte membranes are a major cost component of PEMFC stacks at low production volumes. PEMFC membranes also impose limitations on fuel cell system operating conditions that add system complexity and cost. Reactant gas and fuel permeation through the membrane leads to decreased fuel cell performance, loss of efficiency, and reduced durability in both PEMFCs and DMFCs. To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program, in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, supports research and development aimed at improving ion exchange membranes for fuel cells. For PEMFCs, efforts are primarily focused on developing materials for higher temperature operation (up to 120 °C) in automotive applications. For DMFCs, efforts are focused on developing membranes with reduced methanol permeability. In this paper, the recently revised DOE membrane targets, strategies, and highlights of DOE-funded projects to develop new, inexpensive membranes that have good performance in hot and dry conditions (PEMFC) and that reduce methanol crossover (DMFC) will be discussed.
Keywords: polymer electrolyte membranes; fuel cells; proton exchange electrolytes; PEMFC; direct methanol fuel cells; DMFC
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Houchins, C.; Kleen, G.J.; Spendelow, J.S.; Kopasz, J.; Peterson, D.; Garland, N.L.; Ho, D.L.; Marcinkoski, J.; Martin, K.E.; Tyler, R.; Papageorgopoulos, D.C. U.S. DOE Progress Towards Developing Low-Cost, High Performance, Durable Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications. Membranes 2012, 2, 855-878.
Houchins C, Kleen GJ, Spendelow JS, Kopasz J, Peterson D, Garland NL, Ho DL, Marcinkoski J, Martin KE, Tyler R, Papageorgopoulos DC. U.S. DOE Progress Towards Developing Low-Cost, High Performance, Durable Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications. Membranes. 2012; 2(4):855-878.
Houchins, Cassidy; Kleen, Greg J.; Spendelow, Jacob S.; Kopasz, John; Peterson, David; Garland, Nancy L.; Ho, Donna L.; Marcinkoski, Jason; Martin, Kathi E.; Tyler, Reginald; Papageorgopoulos, Dimitrios C. 2012. "U.S. DOE Progress Towards Developing Low-Cost, High Performance, Durable Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications." Membranes 2, no. 4: 855-878.