Vacuum Assisted Graphene Oxide Membranes for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Wednesday, 29 July 2015: 11:40
Dochart (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre)
S. M. Holmes and K. K. Maniam (The University of Manchester)
Undisputedly hydrogen is the preferred and prominent fuel for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) because of its high electro reactivity for the anodic reaction, the lack of onsite green-house gas emissions (pure water is the only product) and higher cell efficiency. The presence of various oxygenated functional groups can facilitate the proton transportation through reformation of hydrogen bonds and makes graphene oxide (GO) itself as a good candidate as a proton exchange membrane in low temperature fuel cells. Besides ionic conductivity, GO can act as a physical barrier separating the fuels such as hydrogen and oxidant and prevents their cross-overs. In the recent times, significant attention has been shifted towards employing pristine/Virgin GO membranes as such in low temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells. A number of preparation methods have been proposed to synthesise free-standing GO films in the recent past. However, the influence of method on the membrane properties and applications in fuel cells needs to be addressed and requires further exploration.In this work, graphene oxide membranes of different thickness will be prepared using two different methods: vacuum evaporation and hydrosol evaporation. The influence of the method of preparation, thickness, will be studied in relation to the membrane properties including proton conductivity, ion exchange capacity, and water uptake, swelling behavior, thermal stability and fuel cell performance. A comparative study made with the conventional membrane electrode assembly (Pt/C-Nafion-Pt/C) will be discussed in detail.