The proposed project aims at the development of materials and technologies for an advanced high temperature solid polymer fuel cell (HTSPFC) stack, operating at 150 - 200øC with hydrogen fuel from methane or methanol steam reforming.
Compared with the conventional SPFC technology, which is based on the perfluorosulfonic acid polymer membranes (e.g. Nafion) and operated at temperatures below 100øC (at atmospheric pressure), the HTSPFC possesses advantages due to the increased catalytic efficiency (and therefore fast kinetics) and higher tolerance of impurities in the fuel (2-3% CO in hydrogen). In this way the abundant and cheap sources of hydrogen can be utilized and hence the cost for gas processing and cell operation can be reduced. Other advantages include a simplified cell constructions with easier operation with respect to the water and thermal management.
Using methanol as fuel with external or internal reforming will avoid problems associated with hydrogen storage and make the new technology very promising for transportation applications. Another potential application of the technology is in stationary on-site power generation plants. In comparison with the present commercialized phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) plants, the HTSPFC has the advantages of much high power density (500 mW/cm2 compared to about lC0 mW/cm2 for PAFC), lower loading of noble metal catalysts in electrodes (0.1 mg/cm2 compared to about 0.5 mg/cm2 for PAFC), and compact and all-solid in construction and therefore less corrosion.
In the proposed project, new polymer electrolytes are to be developed of high thermal stability (operating at temperatures 150-200øC), reasonable electric conductivity (about 10-2 S/cm), and good chemical and mechanical properties. High performance gas diffusion electrodes are to be fabricated with oxygen reduction overpotential less than 300 mV at 800 mA/cm2 and the noble metal loading of 0.1 mg/cm2. Techniques are to be developed for making assemblies from the membranes and electrodes. Efforts are to be made to construct a single test cell and a 0.5 kW test stack to demonstrate the technology and evaluate the commercial feasibility.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts