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Title: Protic Salt Polymer Membranes: High-Temperature Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes

Abstract

This research on proton-containing (protic) salts directly addresses proton conduction at high and low temperatures. This research is unique, because no water is used for proton ionization nor conduction, so the properties of water do not limit proton fuel cells. A protic salt is all that is needed to give rise to ionized proton and to support proton mobility. A protic salt forms when proton transfers from an acid to a base. Protic salts were found to have proton conductivities that are as high as or higher than the best aqueous electrolytes at ambient pressures and comparable temperatures without or with water present. Proton conductivity of the protic salts occurs providing two conditions exist: i) the energy difference is about 0.8 eV between the protic-salt state versus the state in which the acid and base are separated and 2) the chemical constituents rotate freely. The physical state of these proton-conducting salts can be liquid, plastic crystal as well as solid organic and inorganic polymer membranes and their mixtures. Many acids and bases can be used to make a protic salt which allows tailoring of proton conductivity, as well as other properties that affect their use as electrolytes in fuel cells,more » such as, stability, adsorption on catalysts, environmental impact, etc. During this project, highly proton conducting (~ 0.1S/cm) protic salts were made that are stable under fuel-cell operating conditions and that gave highly efficient fuel cells. The high efficiency is attributed to an improved oxygen electroreduction process on Pt which was found to be virtually reversible in a number of liquid protic salts with low water activity (< 1% water). Solid flexible non-porous composite membranes, made from inorganic polymer (e.g., 10%indium 90%tin pyrophosphate, ITP) and organic polymer (e.g., polyvinyl pyridinium phosphate, PVPP), were found that give conductivity and fuel cell performances similar to phosphoric acid electrolyte with no need for hydration at ambient pressures. Synthesis and processing of these protic salts into proton-conducting membrane is far from optimized. This protic salt approach has great promise for more improvements in proton conducting membranes for making practical compact, lightweight and inexpensive fuel cells with uses ranging from small electronics (Power = 1 to 100 Watts) to transportation (kiloWatts) to stationary applications (>100 kiloWatts). This work clearly showed that proton can be conducted without water using protoic ionic liquids which are Bronsted salts which contain a proton and whose acid and base moieties have pK separated by more than 4 units and less than 14. A key finding is that the base used should be significantly different than the basicity of water or else water displaces the base and an ordinary acid membrane is left behind. This is the case where the acid moiety is sulfonic acid found on perfluorinated polymeric membranes. This PI suggests that a fruitful route for attaining highly proton-conductive stable protic salt membranes is to use the STABLE poly-phosphazene (-P=N-) polymer backbone with electrochemically STABLE pendant acid or base units on the phosphorous of poly-phosphazene and with suitable pK so the base is NOT the same pK as water. From this work this should give stable water-free proton conductors which should allow for stable fuel cells with Pt catalysts and possible with non-platinum catalyst for the hydrogen anode and oxygen cathode.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
OSTI Identifier:
1324292
Report Number(s):
FG36-06GO16029
DOE Contract Number:  
FG36-06GO16029
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
02 PETROLEUM; 03 NATURAL GAS; 08 HYDROGEN; 30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 42 ENGINEERING; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; proton conductor; anhydrous; elevated temperature; fuel cell; membrane; ionic liquids; protic salt

Citation Formats

Gervasio, Dominic Francis. Protic Salt Polymer Membranes: High-Temperature Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes. United States: N. p., 2010. Web. doi:10.2172/1324292.
Gervasio, Dominic Francis. Protic Salt Polymer Membranes: High-Temperature Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes. United States. doi:10.2172/1324292.
Gervasio, Dominic Francis. Thu . "Protic Salt Polymer Membranes: High-Temperature Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes". United States. doi:10.2172/1324292. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1324292.
@article{osti_1324292,
title = {Protic Salt Polymer Membranes: High-Temperature Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes},
author = {Gervasio, Dominic Francis},
abstractNote = {This research on proton-containing (protic) salts directly addresses proton conduction at high and low temperatures. This research is unique, because no water is used for proton ionization nor conduction, so the properties of water do not limit proton fuel cells. A protic salt is all that is needed to give rise to ionized proton and to support proton mobility. A protic salt forms when proton transfers from an acid to a base. Protic salts were found to have proton conductivities that are as high as or higher than the best aqueous electrolytes at ambient pressures and comparable temperatures without or with water present. Proton conductivity of the protic salts occurs providing two conditions exist: i) the energy difference is about 0.8 eV between the protic-salt state versus the state in which the acid and base are separated and 2) the chemical constituents rotate freely. The physical state of these proton-conducting salts can be liquid, plastic crystal as well as solid organic and inorganic polymer membranes and their mixtures. Many acids and bases can be used to make a protic salt which allows tailoring of proton conductivity, as well as other properties that affect their use as electrolytes in fuel cells, such as, stability, adsorption on catalysts, environmental impact, etc. During this project, highly proton conducting (~ 0.1S/cm) protic salts were made that are stable under fuel-cell operating conditions and that gave highly efficient fuel cells. The high efficiency is attributed to an improved oxygen electroreduction process on Pt which was found to be virtually reversible in a number of liquid protic salts with low water activity (< 1% water). Solid flexible non-porous composite membranes, made from inorganic polymer (e.g., 10%indium 90%tin pyrophosphate, ITP) and organic polymer (e.g., polyvinyl pyridinium phosphate, PVPP), were found that give conductivity and fuel cell performances similar to phosphoric acid electrolyte with no need for hydration at ambient pressures. Synthesis and processing of these protic salts into proton-conducting membrane is far from optimized. This protic salt approach has great promise for more improvements in proton conducting membranes for making practical compact, lightweight and inexpensive fuel cells with uses ranging from small electronics (Power = 1 to 100 Watts) to transportation (kiloWatts) to stationary applications (>100 kiloWatts). This work clearly showed that proton can be conducted without water using protoic ionic liquids which are Bronsted salts which contain a proton and whose acid and base moieties have pK separated by more than 4 units and less than 14. A key finding is that the base used should be significantly different than the basicity of water or else water displaces the base and an ordinary acid membrane is left behind. This is the case where the acid moiety is sulfonic acid found on perfluorinated polymeric membranes. This PI suggests that a fruitful route for attaining highly proton-conductive stable protic salt membranes is to use the STABLE poly-phosphazene (-P=N-) polymer backbone with electrochemically STABLE pendant acid or base units on the phosphorous of poly-phosphazene and with suitable pK so the base is NOT the same pK as water. From this work this should give stable water-free proton conductors which should allow for stable fuel cells with Pt catalysts and possible with non-platinum catalyst for the hydrogen anode and oxygen cathode.},
doi = {10.2172/1324292},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {9}
}