Chitosan-Based Anion Exchange Membranes for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells

Birgit Feketefoldi, Bernd Cermenek
2016 Journal of Membrane Science & Technology  
A series of novel cross-linked highly quaternized chitosan and quaternized poly (vinyl alcohol) membranes were successfully synthesized to be applied in alkaline direct ethanol fuel cells. Cross-linking was accomplished using two different cross-linking agents and an additional thermal process to improve both chemical and thermal properties. Equivalent blends of chitosan and poly (vinyl alcohol) membranes with various degrees of cross-linking were prepared by using different amounts of
more » ... ehyde and ethylene glycol diglycidyl ether as cross-linkers. To investigate their applicability in direct ethanol fuel cells, the membranes were characterized in terms of their structural properties, chemical, thermal and alkaline stability, ion transport and ionic properties using following methods: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, water uptake by mass change, ethanol permeability in the diffusion cell, back titration method (ion exchange capacity) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (anion conductivity). Despite the high degree of quaternization of the applied materials and regardless of the thin film thickness of the blend membranes, the novel cross-linked products displayed outstanding mechanical stability. The lower crosslinked membranes exhibited the best transport and ionic properties with a high anion conductivity of 0.016 S cm -1 and a high ion exchange capacity of 1.75 meq g -1 , whereas membranes with a higher degree of cross-linking performed superior in terms of reduced ethanol permeability of 3.30•10 -7 cm 2 s -1 at 60°C. The blend membranes -chemically and thermally cross-linked -provide excellent thermal stability with an onset degradation temperature above 280°C and superb alkaline stability in 1.0 M KOH at 60°C for 650 h. Therefore, these composite membranes exhibit high potential for application as alkaline electrolytes in fuel cells.
doi:10.4172/2155-9589.1000145 fatcat:kevqvimebzdz7eysycwj3w6wd4