Fuel cell technology is one of the emerging energy technologies, both for stationary
applications (block power stations) and mobile applications (portable electrical devices).
In a standard fuel cell the chemical energy of fuels such as CH3OH or H2 is transformed
to electrical energy. High energy efficiency and low emissions make the fuel cell
technology attractive compared to traditional combustion engines.
The main obstacles to large scale commercialisation of Polymer Exchange Membrane
Fuel Cells (PEMFC) are rooted in the proton conducting membrane, which is the most
important component of this device. The primary requisites of the hydrated membranes
are: (a) high proton conductivity at relatively low humidity levels; (b) low fuel
permeability; (c) high chemical, thermal and mechanical stability. Among the different
polymeric membranes studied for fuel cell applications only the perfluorosulphonic acid
ionomers membranes, such as Nafion®, are actually used commercially. [Continues.]
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.