(Invited) Research By Students That Were Inspired By Russ Kunz in High Temperature Pemfcs, DMFCs, Analysis for Polarization Loses and FC Durability

Monday, 29 May 2017: 08:55
Grand Salon B - Section 9 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
J. M. Fenton (University Central Florida's Florida Solar Energy Center) and H. R. Kunz (University of Connecticut)
After retiring from United Technologies Corporation Dr. H. Russell Kunz, started a new career inspiring graduate, post-doctoral students and young researchers to innovate in fuel cell research at the University of Connecticut. These young researchers with the help of Russ published 47 peer reviewed publications, a book “Experimental Methods and Data Analyses for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEMFCs)” and produced three patents. This historical presentation will be presented with slides taken from Russ Kunz’s presentations from 1997 until 2014. From 1997 to 2004, research at UConn was focused on catalysts for methanol oxidation in phosphoric acid and direct methanol proton exchange membrane fuel cells (DMFCs), and development of selective CO oxidation catalysts for PEMFCs. From 2003 to 2014 membranes with barrier layers for DMFCs and high temperature membranes for PEMFCs were developed and studied. From 2004 to 2014, gas diffusion layers and catalyst structures were being developed along with high temperature membranes into innovative proton exchange membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs) that provided excellent ionic conductivity and good performance in an under-saturated environment (120 oC, 1 atm., 35%RH and 70 oC, 1 atm., dry). To optimize the performance of these MEAs techniques for analysis of polarization curves to evaluate polarization loses were developed using air, oxygen, oxygen/helium experiments and AC impedance. Ionomen (a company founded by Russ Kunz, Len Bonville and Jim Fenton) together students from UConn demonstrated MEA performance that greatly exceeded that of commercial MEAs in a four-cell full-scale stack that provided 288 watts at a current of 120 A while providing 116 oC hot water. From 2006 on finding the degradation mechanisms for membrane and catalysts layers were explored along with the performance of MEAs with lower equivalent weight PFSA in the catalyst layers. From 2006 to 2013 Russ Kunz played a pivitol role in the leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) High Temperature Membrane Working Group (HTMWG). The HTMWG investigated membrane performance at elevated temperature/low relative humidity conditions. For the final three years of the project, Russ and the team at the Florida Solar Energy Center worked with six teams to develop membrane electrode assembly (MEA) fabrication methods for their respective membranes.