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Research Papers

A Study on Synthesis of Chemical Crosslinked Polyvinyl Alcohol-Based Alkaline Membrane for the Use in Low-Temperature Alkaline Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Uday Kumar Gupta

Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology,
Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University),
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Hiralal Pramanik

Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology,
Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University),
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
e-mail: hpramanik.che@itbhu.ac.in

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 10, 2018; final manuscript received February 26, 2019; published online April 12, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Dirk Henkensmeier.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(4), 041005 (Apr 12, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1128; doi: 10.1115/1.4043156 History: Received December 10, 2018; Accepted March 07, 2019

In this paper, an economical and simple procedure was adopted for the fabrication of chemically crosslinked polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based KOH-doped alkaline membrane for the use in an alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell (ADEFC). The membrane parameters, namely, water uptake, KOH uptake, and ionic conductivity were systematically evaluated. The ionic conductivity of the synthesized membrane was in the order of 9 × 10−3 S/cm. The performance of the synthesized alkaline membrane is evaluated in a single ADEFC. Commercial Pt–Ru (30 wt %: 15 wt %)/C and Pt (40 wt %)/high surface area carbon (CHSA) from Alfa Aesar, Haverhill, MA, were used for anode and cathode, respectively. The performance of the membrane was further evaluated in a single cell using different grades of membranes containing different glutaraldehyde (GA) concentration, anode and cathode electrocatalyst loading, ethanol concentration, and KOH concentration. The maximum open circuit voltage (OCV) of 0.73 V was obtained at a temperature of 35 °C for anode feed containing 2 M ethanol and 1 M KOH for the membrane crosslinked with 2.5 wt % glutaraldehyde doped with 6 M KOH. The maximum power density of 4.15 mW/cm2 at a current density of 20.69 mA/cm2 was obtained for the same condition. The optimum electrocatalyst loading was 1 mg/cm2 of Pt-Ru/C at the anode and 1 mg/cm2 of Pt/CHSA at the cathode. The performance of KOH-doped chemically crosslinked PVA membrane was comparable with the published literature.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A two-probe, through-plane setup for measuring membrane conductivity

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Fig. 2

Typical electrochemical impedance spectra, for PVA membrane crosslinked with 2.5 wt % GA and doped with various molar KOH solution at a temperature of 30 °C

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Fig. 3

SEM images of the surface of (a) pristine PVA membrane, (b) crosslinked with 2 wt % GA PVA membrane, (c) crosslinked with 2.5 wt % GA PVA membrane, (d) crosslinked with 3 wt % GA PVA membrane, and (e) crosslinked with 2.5 wt % GA doped with 6 M KOH PVA membrane; SEM images of the cross section (f) PVA membrane crosslinked with 2.5 wt % GA without KOH doping and (g) PVA membrane crosslinked with 2.5 wt % GA doped with 6 M KOH

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Fig. 4

XRD spectra of the PVA membranes at different glutaraldehyde concentrations

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Fig. 5

FTIR of the PVA membranes at different glutaraldehyde concentrations

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Fig. 6

The stress–strain curves of pristine PVA membrane and the crosslinked PVA membrane (2.5 wt % GA)

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Fig. 7

SEM of (a) blank GDL, (b) 0.5 mg/cm2 Pt-Ru/C anode, (c) 1 mg/cm2 Pt-Ru/C anode, and (d) 1.5 mg/cm2 Pt-Ru/C anode

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Fig. 8

Comparison of current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density for membranes crosslinked with different glutaraldehyde concentration doped with 6 M KOH at a cell temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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Fig. 9

Comparison of current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density for membranes doped with different KOH concentration at a temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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Fig. 10

Current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density curves using fixed 1 M KOH and different ethanol at a temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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Fig. 11

Comparison of current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density for 2 M ethanol mixed with different molar of KOH at a temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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Fig. 12

(a) Current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density curves using fixed 1 M KOH and 2 M ethanol for different anode loading at a temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves and (b) current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density curves using fixed 1 M KOH and 2 M ethanol for different cathode loading at a temperature of 35 °C; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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Fig. 13

Comparison of current density versus cell voltage and current density versus power density for 2 M ethanol mixed with 1 M KOH at various temperatures; dotted line, power density curves; solid line, polarization curves

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