A new class of bio-composite polymer electrolyte membranes comprising chitosan (CS) and certain biomolecules in particular, plant hormones such as 3-indole acetic acid (IAA), 4-chlorophenoxy acetic acid (CAA) and 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) are explored to realize proton-conducting bio-composite membranes for application in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The sorption capability, proton conductivity and ion-exchange capacity of the membranes are characterized in conjunction with their thermal and mechanical behaviour. A novel approach to measure the permeability of the membranes to both water and methanol is also reported, employing NMR imaging and volume localized NMR spectroscopy, using a two compartment permeability cell. A DMFC using CS-IAA composite membrane, operating with 2M aqueous methanol and air at 70C delivers a peak power density of 25 mWcm2 at a load current density of 150 mAcm2. The study opens up the use of bio-compatible membranes in polymer-electrolyte-membrane fuel cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry