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Influence des conditions de fonctionnement de la pile à combustible sur les performances du dispositif et la durabilité de la membrane

Abstract : Fuel cells as production system of clean and sustainable energy will help to protect our ecosystem by providing an alternative to fossil fuels before their total exhaustion. However, lower costs and a greater durability are needed for these systems and more particularly the center of the cell, naming the membrane-electrodes assembly (MEA). This study was performed on a sulfonated poly-aromatic membrane: sulfonated polyetheretherketone, or sPEEK. This alternative membrane, which possesses only poor chemical stability, offers a much better thermomechanical behavior than Nafion®, the reference membrane. Aim of this study was first to understand the impact of operating conditions on fuel cell performance, for a sPEEK membrane, in order to improve performance, but also to better understand the impact of the membrane chemical aging onto its physicochemical properties and the resulting fuel cell performance. First the behavior of sPEEK in fuel cell for different operating conditions showed that water transport in the MEA is critical for fuel cell performance. Indeed a very high heterogeneity of operation due to slow water transport in the sPEEK membrane was observed, resulting in a major drop of fuel cell performance compared with what observed using Nafion®. As in situ diagnosis of membrane degradation is difficult and the system particularly complex, it was then decided to study "ex situ" the chemical aging of the membrane (laboratory conditions). Aged membranes under the action of H2O2 (oxidative responsible for the in situ chemical aging of the membranes) were characterized and finally tested in fuel cell. It appears that the chemical aging results in chains scissions, which induce an increase of the membrane swelling. For too much aging, these chains scissions result in the membrane loss of mechanical strength, incompatible with their use in fuel cell. However, for controlled aging (very low degradation), the induced chemical changes allow better swelling of the membrane resulting in an increase of the conductivity and better water transport in the MEA, making it possible to reach, with sPEEK, as good performance as with the use of Nafion®.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 3:17:18 PM
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Pauline Legrand. Influence des conditions de fonctionnement de la pile à combustible sur les performances du dispositif et la durabilité de la membrane. Sciences agricoles. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENV016⟩. ⟨tel-00767130⟩

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