Improvement on Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) Technology



Invention Summary

The invention is a development of proton-conductive polymers for proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology. PEMFC—the most widely used of all existing fuel cell technologies—gives very high power density, and has the advantage of low weight and volume compared with other fuel cells. The technology relates to the synthesis, by way of transition metal-catalyzed polymerization followed by postsulfonation, of a variety of aromatic copolymer electrolytes. The aromatic copolymer electrolytes have been evaluated with respect to their ability to conduct protons under the operational fuel cell conditions. The polymer electrolytes provide next-generation proton exchange membranes that overcome the limitations of available fuel cell membranes.


Market Opportunity

Clean and highly efficient energy production has long been sought to solve environmental problems associated with the use of current energy sources, in particular, the combustion of organic materials and especially the combustion of fossil fuels. Fuel cells, which convert the chemical energies stored in fuel directly into electrical energy, are expected to be a key enabling technology for the twenty-first century. Fuel cells have an enormous potential to provide reliable, clean energy and therefore are touted as ideal primary energy generators for remote locations and automobiles.


Features & Benefits

•Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells only need hydrogen, oxygen from the air, and water to operate and do not require corrosive fluids like some other fuel-cell types (e.g. PAFCs, phosphoric acid fuel cells). Pure hydrogen or hydrogen-rich gas supplied from storage tanks or on-board reformers can be used as fuel for PEMFC.


•The rigid chemical structure and electron-deficient character of the aromatic polymers offer not only superior chemical and thermal stabilities but also higher proton conductivity at high temperature (˜120° C.) and low relative humidity (25-50%) conditions when compared with currently available PEMs.


•The hydrophobic feature of the polymers is expected to reduce water uptake on hydration and enhance compatibility with membrane electrode assemblies.


Intellectual Property        Patent No.: 7,615,300


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
John Minnick
Business Development Officer
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Chulsung Bae
Renewable Energy
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