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Open Access Materials for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

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The commercial success of the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) will to a large extent be determined by the nature, properties, functionality, and cost of the electrochemical sub-components used in the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Materials research activities in Switzerland for the PEFC are being pursued at the Paul Scherrer Institut (Villigen AG) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne with different objectives. The radiation grafted proton exchange membrane developed at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) has been brought to a near-product-like quality level with encouraging performance close to state-of-the-art materials and a life-time of several thousand hours. Furthermore, the membrane shows low methanol crossover in the direct methanol fuel cell. In addition, polyarylene block copolymer membranes have been investigated as an option for fluorine-free membranes. The electrocatalysis of Pt in acidic solution and in contact with a solid electrolyte, the development of new methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction catalysts, and co-sputtering of Pt and carbon as an alternative method for catalyst preparation are areas of fundamental research. More applied research is performed in the characterization of commercial electrodes in single cells, using standard as well as advanced diagnostic tools developed in-house. This article gives an overview over the research and development projects in Switzerland related to materials and components for the PEFC.

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Keywords: DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELL; ELECTROCATALYSIS; MEMBRANE ELECTRODE ASSEMBLY; POLYMER ELECTROLYTE FUEL CELL; PROTON EXCHANGE MEMBRANE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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