Evaluation of SPEEK/PBI blend membranes for possible direct borohydride fuel cell (DBFC) application


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYDROGEN ENERGY, vol.43, no.40, pp.18702-18711, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 40
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2018.07.129
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.18702-18711
  • Keywords: Direct borohydride fuel cells, Ion exchange membrane, Boroyhdride permeability, Single cell test, OPERATION CONDITIONS, CONDUCTIVITY, PERFORMANCE, STABILITY
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


Direct Borohydride Fuel Cell (DBFC) is one of the most promising liquid fuel cell technologies. However, similar to the other classes of fuel cells, there are technical problems to be solved and new materials specific to the technology should be developed for each component. The electrolyte membrane is one of the key components for its success similar to the other FC types. Commercial perfluorosulfonic acid type membranes namely Nafion (R) is still the first choice in relatively less number of DBFC studies. In this study, less costly blend membranes were fabricated and characterized for comparison of the key properties with Nafion (R) especially for DBFC application. For this purpose, the selected base polymer poly ether-ether-ketone (PEEK) was sulfonated up to high degrees of sulfonation (DS) and blended with another base polymer polybenzimidazole (PBI) at various ratios. Key electrolyte membrane properties such as DS, water uptake, ionic conductivity, BH4+ fuel crossover, mechanical strength and glass transition temperature (T-g) were investigated by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H NMR), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), voltammetry, universal testing machine and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) respectively. Finally single cell test performances were investigated in a DBFC test system. Results showed that the mechanical strength of SPEEK which has a good ionic conductivity value could be improved well beyond the value of Nafion 117 without sacrificing too much of the conductivity. It has been observed that there is a trade-off between the important properties such as ionic conductivity, fuel (borohydride) permeability and mechanical strength at the first sight. The peak power densities obtained for blend membranes are close to the value of the commercial Nafion (R) 117 membrane. These results show that these blend membranes have a potential that can be improved for direct borohydride fuel cells. (C) 2018 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.