Iranian researchers optimize fuel cells

News ID: 3870498 -
TEHRAN, Jan. 07 (MNA) – Iranian researchers at Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT) have developed a kind of nano membrane that considerably improves the performance of direct-methanol fuel cells (DMFCs).

Direct-methanol fuel cells or DMFCs are a recent addition to fuel cell technologies which convert methanol into electrical energy directly and without combustion and with virtually no pollution. DMFCs are widely used in mobile electronic devices, chargers and portable power packs. One key component in DMFC is the proton exchange membrane (PEM).

Hossein Beighadi, the project manager, said the study was an attempt to improve the efficiency of the PEMs through the use of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles.

“One of the important factors for improving the efficiency of membranes used in the DMFC was the improvement of proton channels in these membranes,” he added.

According to him, the modification of the surface of sulfonated graphene nanosheets by the use of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and application of a magnetic field led to the orientation of these nanosheets.

“Results of the research show the membrane containing oriented nanosheets has a better proton conductivity, as well as a higher mechanical and thermal strength compared to a random membrane,” he said.

These membranes have an extensive application in fuel cell industry, and thus can be used in all fields related to energy and electricity generation for cities, industries, military, transport and portable devices such as cellular phones and laptops, he said. 

The results of the research have been published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, vol. 54, No. 28, 2015, pp. 7028-7037. 

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