Polymer Electrolyte Membranes and Their Applications in Methanol Fuel Cells


Mahdi Tohidian – Department of Polymer Engineering and Color Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Parastoo Kavandi – Department of Polymer Engineering and Color Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Amirhossein Haghighi – Department of Polymer Engineering, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad Univercity, Shiraz, Iran
Kosar Arab – Department of Polymer Engineering and Color Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Mobina Tohidian – Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Series: Polymer Science and Technology
BISAC: TEC055000; TEC031000; SCI013100
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/ZHLZ0713

Depleting energy supplies, rapid population growth, and environmental concerns confront developed nations with new challenges. Adopting and implementing renewable alternative energy sources remains a requisite strategy for addressing these issues. As a pillar of future clean energy production for portable, transit, and small stationary power applications, the polyelectrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) employs renewable, and eco-friendly fuels such as hydrogen or methanol. The PEMFC plays a prominent role in tackling the environmental problems associated with fossil fuels consumption.

Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which employs methanol as a fuel source, is considered a suitable energy generator among the various PEMFCs. This is due to its higher energy density, versatility in the handling of liquid fuel, lightweight structure, more straightforward architecture, and ease to scale-up for a variety of applications. In such a structure, which converts the chemical energy of methanol into electricity through electrochemical reactions, polyelectrolyte membrane (PEM) plays an important role in transferring protons from the anode to the cathode side, hence controlling the efficiency of the cell.

Due to the importance of fuel cell technology, especially DMFCs, as power generation systems, and also due to the significant role of polymer electrolyte membranes in determining the efficiency of the cells, this book first identifies the fuel cell technology. It also discusses the structure of DMFCs. In the next step, this book focuses on the structure of PEMs and their recent developments.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1. An Overview of Fuel Cell Technology
1. Introduction
2. Single-Cell Fuel Cell
3. The Performance of a Fuel Cell
4. Fuel Cell Stacking
4.1. Planar-Bipolar Stacking
4.2. Stacks with Tubular Cells
5. Fuel Cell Classification
5.1. A Fuel Cell with a Polymer Electrolyte
5.2. Alkaline Fuel Cell
5.3. Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell
5.4. The Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell
5.5. Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
6. The Features and Practical Considerations in Fuel Cells

Chapter 2. The Structure and Performance of a Methanol Fuel Cell
1. Introduction
2. Direct Methanol Fuel Cells and Their Structure
3. Components of Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
3.1. Electrodes
3.2. Bipolar or Flow Field Plates
3.3. Gas Diffusion Layer
3.4. Polymer Electrolyte Membrane
3.5. Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Performance
3.6. Water and Heat Management in Methanol Fuel Cells
3.7. Applications of Methanol Fuel Cells

Chapter 3. The Structure and Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Use in Methanol Fuel Cells
1. Introduction
2. Nafion Based Polymer Electrolytes
2.1. The Structure of Nafion
2.2. The Synthesis of Nafion
2.3. The Defects of Nafion Membranes
3. Transport Phenomena in the Polymer Electrolyte Membranes
3.1. The Role of Water Molecules in Polymer Electrolyte Membranes
3.2. Mechanisms of Proton Transfer in Membrane Structure
3.3. Methanol Permeability through the Polyelectrolyte Membrane
4. The Performance of DMFCs and the Role of PEMs
4.1. The Effect of Methanol Concentration
4.2. The Effect of Pressure
4.3. The Effect of Temperature
4.4. Membrane Thickness and Equivalent Weight
4.5. The Morphology of Catalysts
5. Alternatives to Nafion Membrane
5.1. Hybrid Membranes
5.2. Nanocomposite Polyelectrolyte Membranes

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