Project Leader(s): Prof Keith Scott
Contact: Prof Keith Scott
Sponsors: EPSRC and DSTL
Partners: Imperial College, Surrey and Cranfield Universities.
The first viable large scale fuel cell systems were the liquid electrolyte alkaline fuel cells developed by Francis Bacon. The main difficulties with these fuel cells surrounded the liquid electrolyte, which was difficult to immobilise and suffers from problems due to the formation of low solubility carbonate species. Subsequent material developments led to the introduction of proton-exchange membranes (PEMs e.g. Nafion(r)) and the development of the well-known PEMFC. Recent advances in materials science and chemistry has allowed the production of membrane materials and ionomers which would allow the development of the alkaline-equivalent to PEMs. The application of these alkaline anion-exchange membranes (AAEMs) promises a quantum leap in fuel cell viability. Such fuel cells (conduction of OH- anions rather than protons) offer a number of significant advantages:
The research programme involves the development of a suite of materials and technology necessary to implement the alkaline polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (APEMFC). This research will be performed by a consortium of world leading materials scientists, chemists and engineers, based at Imperial College London, Cranfield University, University of Newcastle and the University of Surrey. The overall aim is to develop membrane materials, catalysts and ionomers for APEMFCs and to construct and operate such fuel cells utilising platinum-free electrocatalysts.
Prof. Keith Scott