274079 Polysulfone-Based Alkaline Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell: Relationship Between Nanophase-Separated Structure and Transport Properties

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Kyung Won Han1, Kwan Ho Ko1 and Seung Soon Jang2, (1)School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, (2)School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

As the dependence on fossil fuels keeps increasing and resultant pollution devastates our environment, seeking for new sustainable energy sources has been the most critical task for modern society. One of the most extensively studied energy sources is the fuel cell technology, which produces very less pollutants. Fuel cells have been considered for the applications to portable electronic device, transportation, back-up power source and so on. Currently most widely used fuel cell is proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). However, using platinum as its catalyst contributes the cost of PEMFC to be very high. On the other hand, alkaline fuel cell (AFC) uses non-platinum metals as its catalyst such nickel. Consequently, the cost of alkaline fuel cell is substantially lower compared to polymer membrane exchange fuel cell. Moreover, alkaline fuel cell has the highest efficiency among the fuel cells achieving up to 70% efficiency. The efficiency depends on ionic conductivity and chemical stability of electrolyte membrane. One huge drawback for alkaline fuel cell is that its electrolyte degrades effortlessly under the presence of carbon dioxide. The biggest contribution to ionic conductivity and chemical stability of AFC is deeply related to the formation of water channel in electrolyte where hydroxides move through. The distribution of water channel is affected by the structure of the polymer membrane, its water content, and temperature. Among the factors, our lab is focusing on the structure of polymer membrane of 134-PSU-QAn at the moment. The methods used in our computational simulation are molecular dynamics simulation and quantum mechanics study. The polymers made with two different types of PSU Ionomers will be analyzed at 10 wt% and 20 wt%.

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