A polyoxometalate coupled graphene oxide–Nafion composite membrane for fuel cells operating at low relative humidity
Polymer electrolyte fuel cells operating at elevated temperature and low relative humidity (RH) have been investigated by utilizing a polyoxometalate coupled graphene oxide–Nafion membrane. A phosphotungstic acid (PW) coupled graphene oxide–Nafion (Nafion/PW-mGO) membrane showed enhanced proton conductivity compared with pristine and recast Nafion membranes. The Nafion/PW-mGO hybrid membrane exhibited a maximum power density of 841 mW cm−2, whereas the pristine Nafion membrane showed a power density of 210 mW cm−2 operated at 80 °C under 20% RH. In comparison, our hybrid membrane showed a 4-fold higher maximum fuel cell power density when operated at 80 °C under 20% RH, than that of a state-of-the-art pristine membrane (Nafion-212). The remarkably enhanced performance of the Nafion/PW-mGO composite membrane was mainly attributed to the reduction of ohmic resistance by the hygroscopic solid acids, which can retain water in their framework through hydrogen bonding with protons at elevated temperatures and facilitates proton transport through the membrane.