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Proton exchange membrane fuel cells - Essay Example

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Proton exchange membrane material (PEM) fuel cell technology promises an alternative source of clean, secure and green energy with varied applications including automobile, portable and stationary. A fuel cell is basically an electrochemical device which has the capability of…
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Proton exchange membrane fuel cells
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Download file to see previous pages mstance, the development of fuel cells helps in reducing dependence on fossil fuels hence reducing the levels of toxic and poisonous emissions to the atmosphere. However, this form of energy exemplified by proton exchange membrane fuel cells has to compete with reliability, cost and energy efficiency with established energy sources. The commercialization of the proton exchange membrane fuel cells are closely related to vital materials considerations including performance, durability and cost. The major setback is to find a combination of materials that will give a valid outcome on the basis of the above three mentioned factors.
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell is also referred to as the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. This is so because the name variant depends on the type of electrolyte employed in the model. When the membrane is conveniently hydrated, the fuel cell is referred to as the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. In this case, there is high conductivity of protons across the polymeric membrane. Various state of the art proton exchange membrane fuel cells have been developed. Exemplified by thinner membranes of less than 40 micrometers and smaller Pt/C electrodes, some fuel cells have been devised for cost reduction. However, these models have demonstrated significantly less operating time of close to 15, 000 hours. This called for the invention of an ion-conductive polymeric membrane as a gas electron barrier. This idea was first coined by William T. Grubb of the General Electric Company in 1955. Currently, the most widely employed membrane electrolyte is DuPont’s Nafion. This is because it possesses good chemical and mechanical stability in the challenging proton exchange membrane fuel cell environment. Basically, the physical structure of the proton exchange membrane fuel cell comprises of seven components. These are feeding channels, diffusion layers, catalytic layer in the anode, membrane; catalytic layer, diffusion layer and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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