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High Yield Production of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes- A Comparative Study Between Two Manufacturing Techniques

29 Jun 2023
Fuel Cell Technology
This study addresses the manufacturability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) by a roll to roll (R2R) coating process. Particular attention is given to the quality of the membrane with no pinholes or inter-run interfaces, good handle on thickness control and minimizing wastes that largely consist of fluoropolymers. For the techniques slot die and mayer rod techniques have been adopted to have a pre-metered target thicknesses of 10-100 µm, while starting with the same stock solution of metal catalyst embedded aquivion (perfluorosulfonic ionomer) aqueous dispersions from Solvay Chemicals. . The PEFC cells are assembled by using different thicknesses of the PEMs produced by both coating techniques. The V-I characteristics of the cells are systematically measured as functions of PEM thicknesses and the correlation between the two techniques made. Because all the experiments are performed by using manufacturing equipment in R2R format, it obviates the loss of efficiency from lab scale to manufacturing plant scale which is often a factor. Additionally, special modifications are undertaken to in the ink bath for both techniques to minimize wastes of the electrolyzer ink to mitigate special concerns on the disposal of fluorochemicals. 
Yudhisthira Sahoo, Technology Specialist - FLEXcon