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

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Masamichi Nishihara

Next-Generation Fuel Cell Research Center (NEXT-FC), Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
Website | E-Mail
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 1000 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.


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

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Composite membranes for PEM fuel cells at intermediate temperatures: A critical review
Author: Xinwei Sun, Stian C. Simonsen, Athanasios Chatzitakis, Truls Norby
Abstract: Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) hold great promise for high efficiency power generation with zero-CO2 emission. A major component that determines the PEFCs performance is the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). The perfluorosulfonic acid membrane (Nafion®) is currently the state-of-the-art PEM due to its high proton conductivity under fully humid conditions at approx. 80 °C, as well as its high chemical and mechanical stability. It is highly desirable to increase the operating temperature to avoid catalyst poisoning and cathode flooding, as well as reduce the cost and complexity of the system. However, under lower humidity conditions and higher temperatures (> 80 °C) these properties are compromised.
One approach to improve the performance at elevated temperatures is to introduce inorganic fillers, such as silica, titania, zirconia etc. to the Nafion® membrane in order to improve the water retention. The principles behind the action of the filler comprise narrowing the water channels of the polymer, hygroscopicity of the filler material, and space charge effects of at the polymer-filler interface. But do we really see a positive effect on the conductivity? Do these non-percolating oxide networks really facilitate proton transfer? These and other critical points are discussed.


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