Alcohol Diffusion in Alkali-Metal-Doped Polymeric Membranes for Using in Alkaline Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells

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The alcohol permeability of anion exchange membranes is a crucial property when they are used as a solid electrolyte in alkaline direct alcohol fuel cells and electrolyzers. The membrane is the core component to impede the fuel crossover and allows the ionic transport, and it strongly affects the fuel cell performance. The aim of this work is to compare different anion exchange membranes to be used as an electrolyte in alkaline direct alcohol fuels cells. The alcohol permeability of four commercial anion exchange membranes with different structure were analyzed in several hydro-organic media. The membranes were doped using different types of alkaline doping agents (LiOH, NaOH, and KOH) and different conditions to analyze the effect of the treatment on the membrane behavior. Methanol, ethanol, and 1-propanol were analyzed. The study was focused on the diffusive contribution to the alcohol crossover that affects the fuel cell performance. To this purpose, alcohol permeability was determined for various membrane systems. The results show that membrane alcohol permeability is affected by the doping conditions, depending on the effect on the type of membrane and alcohol nature. In general, heterogeneous membranes presented a positive correlation between alcohol permeability and doping capacity, with a lower effect for larger-size alcohols. A definite trend was not observed for homogeneous membranes.
Financial support of this work by Banco de Santander and Universidad Complutense de Madrid within the framework of Project PR108/20-02 is gratefully acknowledged.
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