Modification of PEM Fuel Cell Membranes Using Polydopamine for Durability Enhancement, The

Martin, Bridger
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells utilize hydrogen as energy source, combining with oxygen or air to form water as the only byproduct. This clean energy source has been a very popular research topic because PEM systems show very high promise in large stationary settings as well as small mobile units, such as automobiles. The persistent challenges in PEM fuel cells include relatively low life cycle and high loading of precious metal catalyst, such as platinum. By modifying the membrane with a very thin layer of polydopamine, both of these problems can be directly addressed. Dopamine acts as a protective layer that helps to minimize hydrogen crossover, which results in further degradation. Dopamine also works as an adhesive layer to help prevent membrane breakdown due to mechanical stresses. Catalyst amalgamation is a critical issue in decreasing membrane performance. The adhesion layer helps prevent amalgamation by immobilizing platinum catalyst on the membrane. Less amalgamation could also lead to less platinum use. Dopamine coated membranes could significantly improve the lifetime of a cell while simultaneously decreasing its cost.
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