Novel Conductive Water Removal Membrane (CWRM) for PEM Passive Fuel Cell Operation
ElectroChem proposes a Phase II program to advance its Phase I effort, to develop a conductive water removal membrane to enable passive, high current density PEMFC operation. Very good progress was demonstrated by the two approaches investigated: 1) Construct a carbon-based composite, higher bubble point membrane; 2) convert a polymer-based water removal membrane to a conductive membrane (both approaches to meet the CWRM primary requirements of conductivity, water permeation, and "no gas leakage").In Phase I, coating the carbon with conductive/hydrophilic materials was very effective, resulting in CWRM's that met the conductivity and water permeation requirements and reduced gas permeation by 99.8%. A multilayer variation achieved "no gas permeation" at 40 psig. In the polymer approach, conductive material treatments were successful in increasing conductivity.
In Phase II, we will 1) use quantitative control of the carbon coatings to advance the promising carbon composite approach; 2) utilize individual layers with different properties to construct a multilayer CWRM; 3) investigate the use of a conducting polymer to increase bubble pressure.
To produce a polymer-based CWRM, an advanced pore modification technique will be used to enhance polymer acceptability of the conductive particles. The program will culminate with fuel cell testing of the CWRM's.
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