Our objectives are the development of thermally stable (to 180 C) protonic conducting membranes (o>10 2 Scm 1 ) based on hybrid inorganic organic systems. These are formed by the association of protonic conducting polymers and protonic conducting inorganic materials. The latter are layered solids which can be broken down into nanoscale building blocks by intercalation and exfoliation. These composites can be divided into:
conventional microscale composites,
and the continuum between the three classes will be explored. Functionalities conferring protonic conductivity will be introduced both onto the thermostable polymer and the inorganic layers by chemical modification including techniques such as grafting and topotactic exchange. The partner laboratories are experienced in the manipulation of two dimensional inorganic materials, and in the conception and development of new methods for the modification of layered solids. Other of the partner laboratories have many years experience in the chemical modification of polymers, and an industrial participant will assure membrane scaling up aspects and, eventually, manufacture.
The materials and membranes will be characterised by a full range of chemical, thermal, spectroscopic, electrical and textural techniques which are available in the partner laboratories.
No proton exchange membrane is currently commercially available for use at such temperatures. Rapid application in electrochemical devices for energy conversion and in electrochemical reactors is therefore foreseen. The partnership includes a research institute and an industry who have complementary expertise in the areas of electrode design, and fuel cell development and manufacture. These two groups will optimise membrane electrode assemblies and test the membranes at 150 C in a prototype cell conceived during the project. Ultimate end users of the proton exchange membranes are the chemical, power generation and automobile industries. The areas convered by the proposal are materials engineering giving membranes with electrical properties for use in clean, environmentally friendly technologies.
The partnership is formed of 2 industrial groups (1 SME), 2 research organisations and 3 university teams. It includes 4 EU countries. Both industrial groups have stated their interest in developing and exploiting a viable product resulting from the successful outcome of the programme of research.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
G1 1XL Glasgow