1 Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark2 Proton conductors, Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark3 Danish Power Systems ApS4 Michigan Molecular Institute
Composite membranes based on poly(2,2′(m-phenylene)-5,5́bibenzimidazole) (PBI) and sulfonated polyhedral oligosilsesquioxane (S-POSS) with S-POSS contents of 5 and 10wt.% were prepared by solution casting as base materials for high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. With membranes based on pure PBI as a reference point, the composite membranes were characterized with respect to spectroscopic and physicochemical properties. After doping with phosphoric acid, the composite membranes showed considerably improved ex situ proton conductivity under anhydrous as well as under fully humidified conditions in the 120-180°C temperature range. The conductivity improvements were also confirmed by in situ fuel cell tests at 160°C and further supported by the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy data based on the operating membrane electrode assemblies, demonstrating the technical feasibility of the novel electrolyte materials.