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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R82227/01
Title: ALKALINE DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELLS
Principal Investigator: Scott, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Christensen, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Fumatech Solvay (International Chemical Group)
Department: Chemical Engineering & Advanced Material
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Postdoctoral Mobility PreFEC
Starts: 01 May 2002 Ends: 30 April 2003 Value (£): 73,638
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors Chemicals
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The aim of this proposal is to research direct methanol fuel cells which function in a predominantly alkaline environment with the use of hydroxide form ionomer membranes. Solid polymer electrolyte DMFCs have been developed to their current status using proton conducting polymer membranes. Two obstacles, currently inhibiting the application of DMFCs are the relatively low activity of methanol electro-oxidation catalysts and methanol crossover through the proton-conducting membrane, both of which can be overcome by this proposed research using hydroxide (alkaline) conducting membranes. In the case of methanol, if the fuel cell is operated under alkaline conditions, two major advantages could be gained: it appears that the electro-oxidation of methanol in alkaline solution is structure insensitive, and hence other metals (or oxides of) are as active as platinum towards the oxidation, e.g. Ni. The use of a hydroxide form anion exchange membrane will resolve the current problem of methanol crossover from anode to cathode: electro-osmotic water transport from cathode to anode will counteract diffusion of methanol.Our approach to the research of direct methanol fuel cells is based on the deposition of anode electrocatalyst (e.g. Pt, Pd) onto the membrane surface. Electrocatalysts will be either commercial material [e.g. Pt, Pd] or produced in-house by, for example sputter deposition and chemical deposition. Deposition of catalyst onto membranes will be by electrochemical or chemical reduction of suitable cationic or anionic salts.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk