More sustainable electricity generation in hot and dry fuel cells with a novel hybrid membrane of Nafion/nano-silica/hydroxyl ionic liquid

Yan Li, Yan Shi, Nada Mehio, Mingsheng Tan, Zhiyong Wang, Xiaohong Hu, George Z. Chen, Sheng Dai, Xianbo Jin

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A new hybrid proton exchange membrane (PEM) has been prepared from hydroxyl functionalized imidazolium ionic liquid (IL-OH), Nafion and nano-SiO2. The IL-OH, with a hydroxyl group that acts as both a proton acceptor and donor, forms strong hydrogen bonds with both Nafion and nano-SiO2, resulting in an effective hydrogen bond network in the ternary membrane. Such an anhydrous hydrogen-bond network, which is unknown previously, endows the PEMs with higher proton conductivity, greater thermal stability and surprisingly a more robust mechanical performance than PEMs consisting of conventional ionic liquids. The resulting PEMs have a tensile strength that is more than twice as strong as recast Nafion and an anhydrous ionic conductivity of ∼55 mS cm−1 at temperatures above 160 °C, with a proton transfer number of ∼0.9. A laboratory assembled H2–O2 fuel cell employing this new PEM delivered a power density of 340 and 420 mW cm−2 at 160 and 180 °C, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
JournalApplied Energy
Volume175
Early online date24 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Hydrogen-bonds
  • Hydroxyl ionic liquids
  • Intermediate-temperature fuel cells
  • Nafion
  • Proton exchange membranes

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