Special Issue "Membrane Materials for Next-Generation Fuel Cells"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Masamichi Nishihara
Website
Guest Editor
Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center (NEXT-FC), Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
Interests: polymer electrolyte membrane; supramolecular chemistry; polymer synthesis; PEFC

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Are nafion-like structures the ultimate solution for the design of polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs)? In order to answer the question, in this Special Issue we report new concepts, materials and procedures that are different from conventional PEM development to achieve the high efficiency and high durability of PEMs.

The spread of fuel cell devices in the general public is important to realize the hydrogen energy society. In particular, polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), which are used for FCVs and stationary FCs, need to improve their efficiency and durability in order to reduce the cost of PEFC and stack space. Therefore, the development of higher performance PEMs than the current PEMs, which are one of the key components of PEFCs, are strongly required. The solution of this challenging problem requires not only nafion-like membrane design, but also novel approaches.

In this Special Issue, we welcome membrane research that uses unique and novel approaches to develop high-performance PEMs.

Prof. Dr. Masamichi Nishihara
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Membranes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs)
  • PEFC
  • Preparation process
  • Composite materials
  • Proton conductivity
  • Fuel cell performance
  • Durability

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Multilevel Structure of Sulfonated Syndiotactic-Polystyrene Model Polyelectrolyte Membranes Resolved by Extended Q-Range Contrast Variation SANS
Membranes 2019, 9(11), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9110136 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Membranes based on sulfonated synditoactic polystyrene (s-sPS) were thoroughly characterized by contrast variation small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) over a wide Q-range in dry and hydrated states. Following special sulfonation and treatment procedures, s-sPS is an attractive material for fuel cells and energy storage [...] Read more.
Membranes based on sulfonated synditoactic polystyrene (s-sPS) were thoroughly characterized by contrast variation small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) over a wide Q-range in dry and hydrated states. Following special sulfonation and treatment procedures, s-sPS is an attractive material for fuel cells and energy storage applications. The film samples were prepared by solid-state sulfonation, resulting in uniform sulfonation of only the amorphous phase while preserving the crystallinity of the membrane. Fullerenes, which improve the resistance to oxidation decomposition, were incorporated in the membranes. The fullerenes seem to be chiefly located in the amorphous regions of the samples, and do not influence the formation and evolution of the morphologies in the polymer films, as no significant differences were observed in the SANS patterns compared to the fullerenes-free s-sPS membranes, which were investigated in a previous study. The use of uniaxially deformed film samples, and neutron contrast variation allowed for the identification and characterization of different structural levels with sizes between nm and μm, which form and evolve in both the dry and hydrated states. The scattering length density of the crystalline regions was varied using the guest exchange procedure between different toluene isotopologues incorporated into the sPS lattice, while the variation of the scattering properties of the hydrated amorphous regions was achieved using different H2O/D2O mixtures. Due to the deformation of the films, the scattering characteristics of different structures can be distinguished on specific detection sectors and at different detection distances after the sample, depending on their size and orientation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials for Next-Generation Fuel Cells)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Composite Membranes for High Temperature PEM Fuel Cells and Electrolysers: A Critical Review
Membranes 2019, 9(7), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9070083 (registering DOI) - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrolysers offer efficient use and production of hydrogen for emission-free transport and sustainable energy systems. Perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes like Nafion® and Aquivion® are the state-of-the-art PEMs, but there is a need to increase [...] Read more.
Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrolysers offer efficient use and production of hydrogen for emission-free transport and sustainable energy systems. Perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes like Nafion® and Aquivion® are the state-of-the-art PEMs, but there is a need to increase the operating temperature to improve mass transport, avoid catalyst poisoning and electrode flooding, increase efficiency, and reduce the cost and complexity of the system. However, PSFAs-based membranes exhibit lower mechanical and chemical stability, as well as proton conductivity at lower relative humidities and temperatures above 80 °C. One approach to sustain performance is to introduce inorganic fillers and improve water retention due to their hydrophilicity. Alternatively, polymers where protons are not conducted as hydrated H3O+ ions through liquid-like water channels as in the PSFAs, but as free protons (H+) via Brønsted acid sites on the polymer backbone, can be developed. Polybenzimidazole (PBI) and sulfonated polyetheretherketone (SPEEK) are such materials, but need considerable acid doping. Different composites are being investigated to solve some of the accompanying problems and reach sufficient conductivities. Herein, we critically discuss a few representative investigations of composite PEMs and evaluate their significance. Moreover, we present advances in introducing electronic conductivity in the polymer binder in the catalyst layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Materials for Next-Generation Fuel Cells)
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