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Special Issue "Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy"

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A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Michael D. Guiver

State Key Laboratory of Engines, School of Mechanical Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
Interests: membrane gas separation polymers; fuel cell membranes; polymers of intrinsic microporosity; click chemistry polymers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Worldwide concern over the consequences of traditional energy usage is driving the development of devices for clean energy conversion such as fuel cells and solar cells. Polymer films and membranes play a central functional role in the efficiency and operation of these devices. Polymer electrolyte membranes (PEM) for the conduction of either protons or hydroxide ions, depending on the fuel cell device, have been extensively studied and improved over the last decade. Design of polymeric materials that address a number of issues including high ionic conduction under reduced humidity conditions, fuel crossover, the balance between water uptake / dimensional stability and proton conduction, chemical stability, the catalyst—PEM interface, ionomer, and fuel cell durability are needed. In organic solar cells, polymers have the advantage of much lower cost compared to silicon devices, and can be manufactured in high volume as printed flexible sheets. Polymeric semiconducting materials that address thermal, chemical, photo-stability and phase separation between n-type and p-type polymers are needed to improve durability. With power conversion efficiencies now approaching ~10%, further improvements in low bandgap polymer solar cells through the control of HOMO-LUMO charge separation will close the gap further with the ~25% conversion efficiencies of silicon-based solar cells.

Dr. Michael Guiver
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • proton exchange
  • anion exchange
  • membrane
  • fuel cell
  • proton conduction
  • PEMFC
  • solar cell
  • photovoltaic
  • bandgap
  • donor-acceptor

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Modeling and Simulation for Fuel Cell Polymer Electrolyte Membrane
Polymers 2013, 5(1), 56-76; doi:10.3390/polym5010056
Received: 3 December 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have established methods to evaluate key properties that are needed to commercialize polyelectrolyte membranes for fuel cell electric vehicles such as water diffusion, gas permeability, and mechanical strength. These methods are based on coarse-graining models. For calculating water diffusion and gas [...] Read more.
We have established methods to evaluate key properties that are needed to commercialize polyelectrolyte membranes for fuel cell electric vehicles such as water diffusion, gas permeability, and mechanical strength. These methods are based on coarse-graining models. For calculating water diffusion and gas permeability through the membranes, the dissipative particle dynamics–Monte Carlo approach was applied, while mechanical strength of the hydrated membrane was simulated by coarse-grained molecular dynamics. As a result of our systematic search and analysis, we can now grasp the direction necessary to improve water diffusion, gas permeability, and mechanical strength. For water diffusion, a map that reveals the relationship between many kinds of molecular structures and diffusion constants was obtained, in which the direction to enhance the diffusivity by improving membrane structure can be clearly seen. In order to achieve high mechanical strength, the molecular structure should be such that the hydrated membrane contains narrow water channels, but these might decrease the proton conductivity. Therefore, an optimal design of the polymer structure is needed, and the developed models reviewed here make it possible to optimize these molecular structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Ionomer/Carbon Ratio on the Performance of a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell
Polymers 2012, 4(4), 1645-1656; doi:10.3390/polym4041645
Received: 16 August 2012 / Revised: 12 November 2012 / Accepted: 13 November 2012 / Published: 20 November 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1844 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have used fibrous carbon materials as polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) electrodes. We have examined the influence of the ionomer/carbon ratio on the performance of the PEFCs. The Marimo carbon is a kind of carbon with a spherical shape, and consists [...] Read more.
We have used fibrous carbon materials as polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) electrodes. We have examined the influence of the ionomer/carbon ratio on the performance of the PEFCs. The Marimo carbon is a kind of carbon with a spherical shape, and consists of carbon nanofilaments. Fibrous carbon materials have large specific surface areas without fine pores. The reactant gases and generated water can easily diffuse among the nanofilaments. The ionomer plays two roles; one is a proton transfer activity, and the other is binding the catalyst electrodes. An excess ionomer interferes with the diffusion of gases. The ionomer/carbon ratio should affect the performance of the PEFC, especially at a high current density. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
Open AccessArticle Dye-sensitized Solar Cells with New One-Dimensional Halide-Bridged Cu(I)–Ni(II) Heterometal Coordination Polymers Containing Hexamethylene Dithiocarbamate Ligand
Polymers 2012, 4(3), 1613-1626; doi:10.3390/polym4031613
Received: 2 July 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 10 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (893 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
One-dimensional (1D) halide-bridged Cu(I)–Ni(II) heterometal coordination polymers containing a hexamethylene dithiocarbamate (Hm-dtc) ligand have been synthesized and crystallographically characterized. The highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) levels of the coordination polymers were estimated using UV-Vis-NIR and photoelectron spectroscopies, and it was revealed that these coordination polymers have appropriate HOMO levels for use as dye sensitizers. Direct-current electrical conductivity measurements and impedance measurements indicated that these 1D Cu(I)–Ni(II) heterometal coordination polymers were insulators (σ300K < 10−12 S cm−1). In addition, the coordination polymers were used as sensitizing materials in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs with 1D Cu(I)–Ni(II) heterometal coordination polymers showed lower performances than those with 1D halide-bridged Cu(I)–Cu(II) mixed-valence coordination polymers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
Open AccessArticle Embedding of Hollow Polymer Microspheres with Hydrophilic Shell in Nafion Matrix as Proton and Water Micro-Reservoir
Polymers 2012, 4(3), 1499-1516; doi:10.3390/polym4031499
Received: 19 June 2012 / Revised: 1 August 2012 / Accepted: 10 August 2012 / Published: 20 August 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1621 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Assimilating hydrophilic hollow polymer spheres (HPS) into Nafion matrix by a loading of 0.5 wt % led to a restructured hydrophilic channel, composed of the pendant sulfonic acid groups (–SO3H) and the imbedded hydrophilic hollow spheres. The tiny hydrophilic hollow [...] Read more.
Assimilating hydrophilic hollow polymer spheres (HPS) into Nafion matrix by a loading of 0.5 wt % led to a restructured hydrophilic channel, composed of the pendant sulfonic acid groups (–SO3H) and the imbedded hydrophilic hollow spheres. The tiny hydrophilic hollow chamber was critical to retaining moisture and facilitating proton transfer in the composite membranes. To obtain such a tiny cavity structure, the synthesis included selective generation of a hydrophilic polymer shell on silica microsphere template and the subsequent removal of the template by etching. The hydrophilic HPS (100–200 nm) possessed two different spherical shells, the styrenic network with pendant sulfonic acid groups and with methacrylic acid groups, respectively. By behaving as microreservoirs of water, the hydrophilic HPS promoted the Grotthus mechanism and, hence, enhanced proton transport efficiency through the inter-sphere path. In addition, the HPS with the –SO3H borne shell played a more effective role than those with the –CO2H borne shell in augmenting proton transport, in particular under low humidity or at medium temperatures. Single H2-PEMFC test at 70 °C using dry H2/O2 further verified the impactful role of hydrophilic HPS in sustaining higher proton flux as compared to pristine Nafion membrane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
Open AccessArticle Novel Organic Sensitizers Containing 2,6-Difunctionalized Anthracene Unit for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells
Polymers 2012, 4(3), 1443-1461; doi:10.3390/polym4031443
Received: 29 June 2012 / Revised: 23 July 2012 / Accepted: 24 July 2012 / Published: 3 August 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (780 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A series of new organic dyes comprising different amines as electron donors, 2-(6-substituted-anthracen-2-yl)-thiophene as the π-conjugated bridge, and cyanoacrylic acid group as an electron acceptor and anchoring group, have been synthesized. There exists charge transfer transition from arylamine and anthracene to the [...] Read more.
A series of new organic dyes comprising different amines as electron donors, 2-(6-substituted-anthracen-2-yl)-thiophene as the π-conjugated bridge, and cyanoacrylic acid group as an electron acceptor and anchoring group, have been synthesized. There exists charge transfer transition from arylamine and anthracene to the acceptor in these compounds, as evidenced from the photophysical measurements and the computational results. Under one sun (AM 1.5) illumination, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) using these dyes as the sensitizers exhibited efficiencies ranging from 1.62% to 2.88%, surpassing that using 9,10-difunctionalized anthracene-based sensitizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
Open AccessArticle A Nanoparticle Approach towards Morphology Controlled Organic Photovoltaics (OPV)
Polymers 2012, 4(2), 1242-1258; doi:10.3390/polym4021242
Received: 16 April 2012 / Revised: 24 May 2012 / Accepted: 4 June 2012 / Published: 11 June 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (619 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Silicon nano-particles grafted with two different organic oligomers were prepared; the oligomers used were a phenylene-vinylene (PV) oligomer and a 3,3'''-didodecylquaterthiophene. The graftings were performed by the use of two different functional groups, the PV oligomer was grafted by a hydroxyl-group in [...] Read more.
Silicon nano-particles grafted with two different organic oligomers were prepared; the oligomers used were a phenylene-vinylene (PV) oligomer and a 3,3'''-didodecylquaterthiophene. The graftings were performed by the use of two different functional groups, the PV oligomer was grafted by a hydroxyl-group in the form of a phenol and a lithium derivative was used to graft the 3,3'''-didodecylquaterthiophene. The morphology and size of the grafted particles were analyzed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and the extent of the grafting was analyzed by NMR. Organic photovoltaics with normal geometry (ITO/PEDOT:PSS/active layer/Al) were prepared using these materials as a donor and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester ([60]PCBM) as the acceptor and yielded a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 0.27%, an open circuit voltage (VOC) of 0.93 V, a short circuit current density (JSC) of 0.89 mA/cm2, and a fill factor (FF) of 32.5% for a lead device with an active area of 0.25 cm2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Novel Blend Membranes Based on Acid-Base Interactions for Fuel Cells
Polymers 2012, 4(4), 1627-1644; doi:10.3390/polym4041627
Received: 20 August 2012 / Revised: 25 September 2012 / Accepted: 26 September 2012 / Published: 11 October 2012
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (1519 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fuel cells hold great promise for wide applications in portable, residential, and large-scale power supplies. For low temperature fuel cells, such as the proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), proton-exchange membranes (PEMs) are a key component [...] Read more.
Fuel cells hold great promise for wide applications in portable, residential, and large-scale power supplies. For low temperature fuel cells, such as the proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), proton-exchange membranes (PEMs) are a key component determining the fuel cells performance. PEMs with high proton conductivity under anhydrous conditions can allow PEMFCs to be operated above 100 °C, enabling use of hydrogen fuels with high-CO contents and improving the electrocatalytic activity. PEMs with high proton conductivity and low methanol crossover are critical for lowering catalyst loadings at the cathode and improving the performance and long-term stability of DMFCs. This review provides a summary of a number of novel acid-base blend membranes consisting of an acidic polymer and a basic compound containing N-heterocycle groups, which are promising for PEMFCs and DMFCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Fuel Cells & Solar Energy)
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