Name: Dr. Sandip Maurya
Affiliation: Staff Scientist, Fuel Cell Program, MPA-11: Materials Physics Applications Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Topic: Impact of Ionomers on Fuel Cell Performance
Date & Time: Thursday, 21st December 2023 at 4.00 p.m.
Venue- Rajarshi Bhattacharya Memorial hall (AG02/03), Chemical Sciences Building
Ionomers are polymeric electrolytes and binding agents in the catalyst layers of fuel cells. They enhance the performance of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) by improving ionic transport, catalyst utilization, and reactant transport within the catalyst layer. While the effects of various ionomer properties have been extensively studied in proton exchange membrane fuel cells using Nafion/Perfluoro sulfonic acid (PFSA) as a model polymer electrolyte, the scope of these studies were limited by challenges in producing diverse PFSAs while hydrocarbon-based ionomers are largely ignored due to consistently lower fuel cell performance. Furthermore, the quest of replacing the expensive PFSA electrolyte and reducing fuel cell costs has led to a shift in research focus towards alternative fuel cell systems, such as anion exchange membrane fuel cells(AEMFCs) and high-temperature (HT-) PEMFCs, which utilize readily available hydrocarbon-based polymer electrolytes. Due to the early stage of development for these fuel cells, the impact of ionomers is either inadequately understood or overlooked in the literature, often due to a direct comparison with Nafion-based ionomers.
This presentation will delve into the influence of ionomers on the performance of AEMFCs and HT-PEMFCs. It will also explore the complexities associated with ionomers and their interactions, both among ionomers and between ionomers and catalysts. Furthermore, the talk will discuss the ionomer design approach aimed at achieving high performance in fuel cells.