5 years ago

Anion-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells with Improved CO2 Tolerance: Impact of Chemically Induced Bicarbonate Ion Consumption

Anion-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells with Improved CO2 Tolerance: Impact of Chemically Induced Bicarbonate Ion Consumption
Takenori Isomura, Toshiaki Matsui, Kosuke Yamauchi, Koichi Eguchi, Takayuki Negishi, Yuuki Kikkawa, Kohei Hayashi, Shin Watanabe, Yu Katayama, Hiroki Muroyama, Takeou Okanishi
Over the last few decades, because of the significant development of anion exchange membranes, increasing efforts have been devoted the realization of anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) that operate with the supply of hydrogen generated on-site. In this paper, ammonia was selected as a hydrogen source, following which the effect of conceivable impurities, unreacted NH3 and atmospheric CO2, on the performance of AEMFCs was established. As expected, we show that these impurities worsen the performance of AEMFCs significantly. Furthermore, with the help of in situ attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy, it was revealed that the degradation of the cell performance was primarily due to the inhibition of the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR). This is attributed to the active site occupation by CO-related adspecies derived from (bi)carbonate adspecies. Interestingly, this degradation in the HOR activity is suppressed in the presence of both NH3 and HCO3 because of the bicarbonate ion consumption reaction induced by the existence of NH3. Further analysis using in situ ATR-IR and electrochemical methods revealed that the poisonous CO-related adspecies were completely removed under NH3–HCO3 conditions, accompanied by the improvement in HOR activity. Finally, a fuel cell test was conducted by using the practical AEMFC with the supply of NH3-contained H2 gas to the anode and ambient air to the cathode. The result confirmed the validity of this positive effect of NH3–HCO3 coexistence on CO2-tolerence of AEMFCs. The cell performance achieved nearly 95% of that without any impurity in the fuels. These results clearly show the impact of the chemically induced bicarbonate ion consumption reaction on the realization of highly CO2-tolerent AEMFCs.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b09877

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09877

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