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Cerium oxide decorated polymer nanofibers as effective membrane reinforcement for durable, high-performance fuel cells

: Breitwieser, M.; Klose, C.; Hartmann, A.; Büchler, A.; Klingele, M.; Vierrath, S.; Zengerle, R.; Thiele, S.


Advanced energy materials 7 (2017), No.6, Art. 1602100, 9 pp.
ISSN: 1614-6840
ISSN: 1614-6832
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Solarzellen - Entwicklung und Charakterisierung; Photovoltaik; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Charakterisierung von Prozess- und Silicium-Materialien; characterisation

High-power, durable composite fuel cell membranes are fabricated here by direct membrane deposition (DMD). Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) nanofibers, decorated with CeO2 nanoparticles are directly electrospun onto gas diffusion electrodes. The nanofiber mesh is impregnated by inkjet-printed Nafion ionomer dispersion. This results in 12 µm thin multicomponent composite membranes. The nanofibers provide membrane reinforcement, whereas the attached CeO2 nanoparticles promote improved chemical membrane durability due to their radical scavenging properties. In a 100 h accelerated stress test under hot and dry conditions, the reinforced DMD fuel cell shows a more than three times lower voltage decay rate (0.39 mV h1) compared to a comparably thin Gore membrane (1.36 mV h1). The maximum power density of the DMD fuel cell drops by 9%, compared to 54% measured for the reference. Impedance spectroscopy reveals that ionic and mass transport resistance of the DMD fuel cell are unaffected by the accelerated stress test. This is in contrast to the reference, where a 90% increase of the mass transport resistance is measured. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy reveals that no significant migration of cerium into the catalyst layers occurs during degradation. This proves that the PVDF-HFP backbone provides strong anchoring of CeO2 in the membrane.