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Title: New Fuel Cell Membranes with Improved Durability and Performance

Abstract

The objective of this project was to meet all the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan for membrane performance, durability and cost targets simultaneously with a single membrane. The approach was to develop new proton exchange membranes, integrate them into membrane electrode assemblies (MEA’s) and then evaluate them in single fuel cells and finally fuel cell stacks. These membranes were based on Multi Acid Side Chain (MASC) ionomers containing stabilizing additives and reinforced with electrospun nanofibers. The ionomers developed at 3M are based on a fluorinated polymer with side chains that contain one or more sulfonamide groups and a sulfonic acid group. Both of these groups facilitate proton transport and ionomers were made that show exceptional conductivity, especially at hot and dry conditions. At the same time, 3M and Vanderbilt University developed new mechanical support technology based on electrospun nanofibers. The membranes made by combining the new ionomers and nanofiber supports were evaluated at 3M and General Motors and met all the DOE technical targets except for one; the resistance at 120°C and 40 kPa water vapor pressure. A detailed analysis of the membrane requirements needed to meet this target was completed.The DOE cost targetmore » was evaluated internally but not publicly disclosed. In the final year of the project a durability issue was identified with the sulfonimide link in the MASC polymer. Accelerated durability testing revealed a decay in performance along with an increase in membrane resistance. And, despite the fact that all but one of DOE technical targets and both Go/No Go milestones were met in the fourth and eight quarters, the membranes developed in this project could not pass the final project milestone of 2,000 hours testing in an automotive fuel cell stack at GM. Work in the final year focused on understanding the nature of the ionomer stability. New test methods were employed such as multilayer membrane tests that allowed for detailed analysis of membranes at the end of life. Model compound studies of small molecules were initiated to investigate the stability of the sulfonimide and other functional groups present in the ionomer. At the conclusion of the project, an effective strategy to improve the ionomer stability has yet to be identified. Despite the setback with the ionomer stability, this project has demonstrated significant advances in the field of fluorinated proton exchange membranes for automotive and other applications. The concept of multi-acid side chain ionomers had proven to be an effective strategy to reduce membrane resistance and electrospun nanofibers proven to be a viable mechanical support technology. We intend to build on these results in future membrane development efforts.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. 3M Company, Maplewood, MN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
3M Company, Maplewood, MN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
OSTI Identifier:
1415145
Report Number(s):
DOE-3M-0006362-1
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006362
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; Proton Exchange Membranes; Membrane Electrode Assemblies; Fuel Cell; Fuel Cell Stacks; Multi Acid Side Chain Ionomers; Electrospun Nanofibers

Citation Formats

Yandrasits, Michael. New Fuel Cell Membranes with Improved Durability and Performance. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1415145.
Yandrasits, Michael. New Fuel Cell Membranes with Improved Durability and Performance. United States. doi:10.2172/1415145.
Yandrasits, Michael. Fri . "New Fuel Cell Membranes with Improved Durability and Performance". United States. doi:10.2172/1415145. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1415145.
@article{osti_1415145,
title = {New Fuel Cell Membranes with Improved Durability and Performance},
author = {Yandrasits, Michael},
abstractNote = {The objective of this project was to meet all the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan for membrane performance, durability and cost targets simultaneously with a single membrane. The approach was to develop new proton exchange membranes, integrate them into membrane electrode assemblies (MEA’s) and then evaluate them in single fuel cells and finally fuel cell stacks. These membranes were based on Multi Acid Side Chain (MASC) ionomers containing stabilizing additives and reinforced with electrospun nanofibers. The ionomers developed at 3M are based on a fluorinated polymer with side chains that contain one or more sulfonamide groups and a sulfonic acid group. Both of these groups facilitate proton transport and ionomers were made that show exceptional conductivity, especially at hot and dry conditions. At the same time, 3M and Vanderbilt University developed new mechanical support technology based on electrospun nanofibers. The membranes made by combining the new ionomers and nanofiber supports were evaluated at 3M and General Motors and met all the DOE technical targets except for one; the resistance at 120°C and 40 kPa water vapor pressure. A detailed analysis of the membrane requirements needed to meet this target was completed.The DOE cost target was evaluated internally but not publicly disclosed. In the final year of the project a durability issue was identified with the sulfonimide link in the MASC polymer. Accelerated durability testing revealed a decay in performance along with an increase in membrane resistance. And, despite the fact that all but one of DOE technical targets and both Go/No Go milestones were met in the fourth and eight quarters, the membranes developed in this project could not pass the final project milestone of 2,000 hours testing in an automotive fuel cell stack at GM. Work in the final year focused on understanding the nature of the ionomer stability. New test methods were employed such as multilayer membrane tests that allowed for detailed analysis of membranes at the end of life. Model compound studies of small molecules were initiated to investigate the stability of the sulfonimide and other functional groups present in the ionomer. At the conclusion of the project, an effective strategy to improve the ionomer stability has yet to be identified. Despite the setback with the ionomer stability, this project has demonstrated significant advances in the field of fluorinated proton exchange membranes for automotive and other applications. The concept of multi-acid side chain ionomers had proven to be an effective strategy to reduce membrane resistance and electrospun nanofibers proven to be a viable mechanical support technology. We intend to build on these results in future membrane development efforts.},
doi = {10.2172/1415145},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {12}
}