Interdisciplinary Study of Fuel Cell Technologies

Degradation mechanisms in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) will be identified and products quantified using an interdisciplinary approach involving a range of experimental techniques including ion chromatography (IC), gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), x-ray diffraction (XRD), polarization curves, and cyclic voltammetry. Increasing the lifetime and performance of fuel cells is a critical research area for alternative energy sources. Two components are of importance in these considerations: the polyelectrolyte membrane and the catalyst. Degradation of membranes is known to limit fuel cell lifetimes; however the mechanism(s) of this degradation isn't known exactly. We propose to study these mechanisms by quantifying the degradation products obtained from ordinary, variable-load operation in a durability test; the products obtained from accelerated degradation using Fenton's reagent; and that obtained from exposure to ionizing radiation such as X-rays. IC will be used to measure fluoride and sulfate in Nafion-type perfluorinated polymers, GC/MS and NMR will be used to identify organic products, and EPR will be utilized to identify radical intermediates. The performance of the fuel cells will be checked with polarization curves. In addition, platinum-based catalyst material will be synthesized and incorporated into fuel cells to observe the effect of catalysis on the degradation products. As an interdisciplinary effort between faculty and students in the departments of chemistry and physics, this project provides invaluable experience and education for students in a future technology area, intimately showing how fundamental research provides advances for society at large. We propose to make the project even more interdisciplinary by adding a M. S. Environmental Studies student to our group. She/he would make a life cycle assessment of fuel cell technology: overall, how much does it cost to implement fuel cells in comparison to conventional power technology?


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $80000.00
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      California Department of Transportation

      1227 O Street
      Sacramento, CA  United States  95843

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Thornton, Rusty

    • Performing Organizations:

      California State University, San Bernardino

      5500 University Parkway
      San Bernardino, CA  United States  92407-2397
    • Principal Investigators:

      Stanley, Brett

    • Start Date: 20080801
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20091201
    • Source Data: RiP Project 18139

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01462572
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Leonard Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: 2008-NBG-1026
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:06PM