Rational design of polyaromatic ionomers for alkaline membrane fuel cells with >1 W cm−2 power density†
Alkaline membrane fuel cells (AMFCs) show great potential as alternative energy conversion devices to acidic proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Over the last decade, there has been significant progress in the development of alkaline-stable polyaromatic materials for membrane separators and ionomeric binders for AMFCs. However, the AMFC performance using polyaromatic ionomers is generally poor, ca. a peak power density of <400 mW cm−2. Here, we report a rational design for polyaromatic ionomers which can minimize undesirable phenyl group interaction with hydrogen oxidation catalysts. The AMFC using a newly designed aryl ether-free poly(fluorene) ionomer exhibits a peak power density of 1.46 W cm−2, which is approaching that of Nafion-based PEMFCs. This study further discusses the remaining challenges of high-performing AMFCs.