Development of Composite Binding Layer for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Application

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Danu Suwatchara


Novel composite membrane systems have been devised for use in direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) with the ultimate aim of improving overall fuel cell performance in terms of achievable power density. The composite membrane system takes the form of a multilayered structure composing of commercial Nafion117 membrane and a novel composite binding layer situated between the anode and the membrane. Within the composite binding layer, inorganic filler particles are evenly dispersed throughout the Nafion matrix presenting a barrier that impedes methanol crossover.Through the current research, three novel membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) have been fabricated, each employing the composite binding layer system with different filler. Mass of filler used is kept constant at 0.5 wt% of Nafion117 membrane. When tested in a DMFC system, the first MEA which utilizes hydrogen form mordenite filler particles yields optimum power density of 60 mW/cm2 with the operation at 90°C, 1M methanol fuel concentration. This represents an improvement of 34.7% compared to the standard MEA which do not include the composite binding layer. Silanefunctionalized hydrogen form mordenite filler is used in the second MEA which yields optimum power density of 64 mW/cm2 at 90°C, 1M methanol, outperforming the standard MEA by 42.5%. The third MEA makes use of TS-1 particles as fillers. This yields an optimum performance of 38 mW/cm2 at 90°C, 1M methanol, a 14.3% reduction in performance compared to the standard.Through the results obtained, it can be deduced that the novel composite binding layer presents a valid approach in reducing methanol crossover, however, the nature of filler particles used exerts a great influence on its performance. Therefore, further research is recommended in exploring new filler materials for use within the composite membrane system.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2011