alexa Chitosan-Based Anion Exchange Membranes for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells
ISSN: 2155-9589

Journal of Membrane Science & Technology
Open Access

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Research Article

Chitosan-Based Anion Exchange Membranes for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells

Birgit Feketeföldi1, Bernd Cermenek2*, Christina Spirk3, Alexander Schenk2, Christoph Grimmer2, Merit Bodner2, Martin Koller3, Volker Ribitsch3 and Viktor Hacker2*

1Institute for Surface Technologies and Photonics, JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH/Materials, Franz-Pichler-Straße 30, 8160 Weiz, Austria

2Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, Fuel Cell Systems Group, Graz University of Technology, NAWI Graz, Inffeldgasse 25C, 8010 Graz,Austria

3Institute of Chemistry, University of Graz, Heinrichstraße 28, 8010 Graz, Austria

*Corresponding Authors:
Bernd Cermenek
Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology
Fuel Cell Systems Group, Graz University of Technology
NAWI Graz, Inffeldgasse 25C, 8010 Graz, Austria
Tel: +43 316 873 8788
E-mail: [email protected]
Viktor Hacker
Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology
Fuel Cell Systems Group, Graz University of Technology
NAWI Graz Inffeldgasse 25C, 8010 Graz, Austria
Tel: +43 316 873 8780
Fax: +43 316 873 8782
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: January 27, 2016; Accepted date: February 14, 2016; Published date: February 16, 2016

Citation: Feketeföldi B, Cermenek B, Spirk C, Schenk A, Grimmer C, et al. (2016) Chitosan-Based Anion Exchange Membranes for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells. J Membra Sci Technol 6:145. doi:10.4172/2155-9589.1000145

Copyright: © 2016 Feketeföldi B, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided theoriginal author and source are credited.



A series of novel cross-linked highly quaternized chitosan and quaternized poly (vinyl alcohol) membranes were successfully synthesized to be applied in alkaline direct ethanol fuel cells. Cross-linking was accomplished using two different cross-linking agents and an additional thermal process to improve both chemical and thermal properties. Equivalent blends of chitosan and poly (vinyl alcohol) membranes with various degrees of cross-linking were prepared by using different amounts of glutaraldehyde and ethylene glycol diglycidyl ether as cross-linkers. To investigate their applicability in direct ethanol fuel cells, the membranes were characterized in terms of their structural properties, chemical, thermal and alkaline stability, ion transport and ionic properties using following methods: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, water uptake by mass change, ethanol permeability in the diffusion cell, back titration method (ion exchange capacity) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (anion conductivity). Despite the high degree of quaternization of the applied materials and regardless of the thin film thickness of the blend membranes, the novel cross-linked products displayed outstanding mechanical stability. The lower cross-linked membranes exhibited the best transport and ionic properties with a high anion conductivity of 0.016 S cm-1 and a high ion exchange capacity of 1.75 meq g-1, whereas membranes with a higher degree of cross-linking performed superior in terms of reduced ethanol permeability of 3.30∙10-7 cm2 s-1 at 60°C. The blend membranes - chemically and thermally cross-linked - provide excellent thermal stability with an onset degradation temperature above 280°C and superb alkaline stability in 1.0 M KOH at 60°C for 650 h. Therefore, these composite membranes exhibit high potential for application as alkaline electrolytes in fuel cells.


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