Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) for Fuel Cells: Modelling, Characterization and Application

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375). This special issue belongs to the section "Membrane Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2023) | Viewed by 10701

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Photonics, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Interests: functional membranes; PEM fuel cells; flow battery; electrolysis of water; hydrogen purification and fine chemical purifica-tion

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Guest Editor
Department of Electronics Engineering, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung 80778, Taiwan
Interests: biomedical signal processing; biomedical intelligent sensing; biomedical optical sensing; control architecture and application
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Interests: development of optical fiber sensor; synthesis novel materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide, the whole world has urged for alternative energy sources.  Alternative energy must be a low-polluting and permanently usable energy source, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEM-FCs) meet these characteristics.  PEM-FCs are a high-efficiency and environmental friendly way of generating electricity, which is currently being valued by various countries, and furthermore each application of PEM-FCs has become the focus of development by companies. Both in academic and technological applications are increasingly important.  Hopefully the fuel cells can bring us a pollution-free living space.

PEM-FCs have made great strides in the past few decades and also been made slow progress towards commercialization. However, in order to develop PEM-FCs to a widespread commercialization and serve all mankind, some related technologies and sciences still need to be improved. Therefore, this special issue aims to gather viewpoints from different fields of industry and academia, hoping to be of little help to the future development of PEM-FCs.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following: proton exchange membrane, composite membrane, inorganic acid doped membrane, catalysts, electrodes, gas diffusion layers, bipolar plates and reliability analysis for PEM-FCs.

I/We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Wen-Yao Huang
Dr. Tung-Li Hsieh
Dr. Hsin-Yi Wen
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • membrane
  • fuel cells
  • catalyst
  • reliability
  • commercialization
  • hydrogen
  • clean energy and greenhouse

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 885 KiB  
Article
A Hybrid Method for Performance Degradation Probability Prediction of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
by Yanyan Hu, Li Zhang, Yunpeng Jiang, Kaixiang Peng and Zengwang Jin
Membranes 2023, 13(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13040426 - 12 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1517
Abstract
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is a promising power source, but the short lifespan and high maintenance cost restrict its development and widespread application. Performance degradation prediction is an effective technique to extend the lifespan and reduce the maintenance cost of [...] Read more.
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is a promising power source, but the short lifespan and high maintenance cost restrict its development and widespread application. Performance degradation prediction is an effective technique to extend the lifespan and reduce the maintenance cost of PEMFC. This paper proposed a novel hybrid method for the performance degradation prediction of PEMFC. Firstly, considering the randomness of PEMFC degradation, a Wiener process model is established to describe the degradation of the aging factor. Secondly, the unscented Kalman filter algorithm is used to estimate the degradation state of the aging factor from monitoring voltage. Then, in order to predict the degradation state of PEMFC, the transformer structure is used to capture the data characteristics and fluctuations of the aging factor. To quantify the uncertainty of the predicted results, we also add the Monte Carlo dropout technology to the transformer to obtain the confidence interval of the predicted result. Finally, the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed method are verified on the experimental datasets. Full article
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9 pages, 4746 KiB  
Communication
Numerical Analysis of the Effect of Liquid Water during Switching Mode for Unitised Regenerative Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
by Hock Chin Low and Bee Huah Lim
Membranes 2023, 13(4), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13040391 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1144
Abstract
As unitised regenerative proton exchange membrane fuel cell (URPEMFC) is progressing in terms of its performance, more emphasis should be placed on the understanding of the interaction between multiphase reactants and products and its effect during the switching mode. A 3D transient computational [...] Read more.
As unitised regenerative proton exchange membrane fuel cell (URPEMFC) is progressing in terms of its performance, more emphasis should be placed on the understanding of the interaction between multiphase reactants and products and its effect during the switching mode. A 3D transient computational fluid dynamics model was utilised in this study to simulate the supply of liquid water into the flow field when the system switched from fuel cell mode to electrolyser mode. Different water velocities were investigated to identify their effect on the transport behaviour under parallel, serpentine, and symmetry flow fields. From the simulation results, 0.5 m·s−1 water velocity was the best-performing parameter in achieving optimal distribution. Among different flow field configurations, the serpentine design achieved the best flow distribution due to its single-channel model. Modification and refinement in the form of flow field geometric structure can be performed to further improve the water transportation behaviour in URPEMFC. Full article
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14 pages, 2959 KiB  
Article
Influence of Operating and Electrochemical Parameters on PEMFC Performance: A Simulation Study
by Imtiaz Ali Soomro, Fida Hussain Memon, Waqas Mughal, Muhammad Ali Khan, Wajid Ali, Yong Liu, Kyung Hyun Choi and Khalid Hussain Thebo
Membranes 2023, 13(3), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13030259 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2130
Abstract
Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, or polymer electrolyte fuel cell, (PEMFC) has received a significant amount of attention for green energy applications due to its low carbon emission and less other toxic pollution capacity. Herein, we develop a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamic [...] Read more.
Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, or polymer electrolyte fuel cell, (PEMFC) has received a significant amount of attention for green energy applications due to its low carbon emission and less other toxic pollution capacity. Herein, we develop a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamic model. The values of temperature, pressure, relative humidity, exchange coefficient, reference current density (RCD), and porosity values of the gas diffusion layer (GDL) were taken from the published literature. The results demonstrate that the performance of the cell is improved by modifying temperature and operating pressure. Current density is shown to degrade with the rising temperature as explored in this study. The findings show that at 353 K, the current density decreases by 28% compared to that at 323 K. In contrast, studies have shown that totally humidified gas passing through the gas channel results in a 10% higher current density yield, and that an evaluation of a 19% higher RCD value results in a similar current density yield. Full article
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12 pages, 4358 KiB  
Article
Mesoscale Simulation Based on the Dynamic Mean-Field Density Functional Method on Block-Copolymeric Ionomers for Polymer Electrolyte Membranes
by Hoseong Kang, Muyeong Cheon, Chang Hyun Lee, Tae-Ho Kim, Young Taik Hong, Sang Yong Nam and Chi Hoon Park
Membranes 2023, 13(3), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13030258 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Block copolymers generally have peculiar morphological characteristics, such as strong phase separation. They have been actively applied to polymer electrolyte membranes for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) to obtain well-defined hydrophilic regions and water channels as a proton pathway. Although molecular simulation [...] Read more.
Block copolymers generally have peculiar morphological characteristics, such as strong phase separation. They have been actively applied to polymer electrolyte membranes for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) to obtain well-defined hydrophilic regions and water channels as a proton pathway. Although molecular simulation tools are advantageous to investigate the mechanism of water channel formation based on the chemical structure and property relationships, classical molecular dynamics simulation has limitations regarding the model size and time scale, and these issues need to be addressed. In this study, we investigated the morphology of sulfonated block copolymers synthesized for PEM applications using a mesoscale simulation based on the dynamic mean-field density functional method, widely applied to investigate macroscopic systems such as polymer blends, micelles, and multi-block/grafting copolymers. Despite the similar solubility parameters of the monomers in our block-copolymer models, very different morphologies in our 3D mesoscale models were obtained. The model with sulfonated monomers, in which the number of sulfonic acid groups is twice that of the other model, showed better phase separation and water channel formation, despite the short length of its hydrophilic block. In conclusion, this unexpected behavior indicates that the role of water molecules is important in making PEM mesoscale models well-equilibrated in the mesoscale simulation, which results in the strong phase separation between hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions and the ensuing well-defined water channel. PEM synthesis supports the conclusion that using the sulfonated monomers with a high sulfonation degree (32.5 mS/cm) will be more effective than using the long hydrophilic block with a low sulfonation degree (25.2 mS/cm). Full article
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22 pages, 5962 KiB  
Article
Efficiency Analysis of Fuel Cell Components with Ionic Poly-Arylether Composite Membrane
by Hsin-Yi Wen, Guang-Hsiang Wang, Mei-Ying Chang, Wen-Yao Huang and Tung-Li Hsieh
Membranes 2022, 12(12), 1238; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12121238 - 07 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
We use polyethylene glycol as an additive to explore how the hydrogen bonding of this additive changes the properties of SA8 blended sulfonated polyetheretherketone (SPEEK) composite films. We mixed a 5%wt polyethylene glycol solution into a 12.5%wt SA8 solution, and then prepared a [...] Read more.
We use polyethylene glycol as an additive to explore how the hydrogen bonding of this additive changes the properties of SA8 blended sulfonated polyetheretherketone (SPEEK) composite films. We mixed a 5%wt polyethylene glycol solution into a 12.5%wt SA8 solution, and then prepared a film with a total weight of 40 g at a ratio of 1:99. The SA8 (PEG) solution was prepared and then mixed with 5%wt SPEEK solution, and a film-forming solution with a total weight of 8g in different mixing ratios was created. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was mixed into the sulfonated polyarylether polymer SA8 to form physical cross-linking. Therefore, the sulfonated polyether ether ketone SPEEK was mixed in, and it exhibited good thermal stability and dimensional stability. However, there was some decrease in proton conductivity as the proportion of SPEEK increased. Although SPEEK mixed with sulfonated polymer reduces the proton conductivity, the physical cross-linking of PEG can improve the proton conductivity of the composite membrane, and adding SPEEK can not only solve the problem of the high sulfonation film swelling phenomenon, it can also improve the dimensional stability of the film through the hydrogen bonding force of PEG and obtain a composite film with excellent properties. Full article
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13 pages, 4940 KiB  
Article
Electric Field-Assisted Filling of Sulfonated Polymers in ePTFE Backing Material for Fuel Cell
by Tung-Li Hsieh, Wen-Hui Guo, Mei-Ying Chang, Wen-Yao Huang and Hsin-Yi Wen
Membranes 2022, 12(10), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12100974 - 05 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1840
Abstract
This study fabricated a composite ePTFE-backed proton-exchange membrane by filling the pores on the ePTFE backing with sulfonated polyarylene ethers through an externally supplied electric field. The morphology changes were observed under an SEM. The results suggested that the application of an electric [...] Read more.
This study fabricated a composite ePTFE-backed proton-exchange membrane by filling the pores on the ePTFE backing with sulfonated polyarylene ethers through an externally supplied electric field. The morphology changes were observed under an SEM. The results suggested that the application of an electric field had led to the effective filling of pores by polymers. In addition, the composite membrane featured good dimensional stability and swelling ratio, and its water uptake, proton conductivity and component efficiency increased with voltage. It is found in this study that the external application of an electric field resulted in the effective filling of pores in the ePTFE by sulfonated polyarylene ether polymers and, thus, an improved composite membrane performance. Full article
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