Section: New Research Projects

Transport Dynamics and Carbonation Tolerance in Solution Processable Ionomers: Enabling a Viable Alkaline Anion Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

PI Team members include: Geoffrey Coates and Héctor Abruña.

A major advantage of alkaline fuel cells, relative to acidic fuel cells, is their enhanced reaction kinetics for both oxygen reduction and fuel oxidation permitting the use of less costly, non-noble metal catalysts (e.g. Ni).1 As a result, there is now considerable interest in hydroxide conducting polymer electrolyte membranes, also known as alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs), for fuel cells operating under basic conditions. We have recently reported the synthesis of a series of crosslinked AAEMs through the ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) of tetraalkylammonium-functionalized cyclic olefins.2,3 This synthetic method has eliminated the need for post polymerization modification thereby allowing the facile synthesis of highly conductive and mechanically strong AAEMs.