A novel PVA/Hydroxyapatite (HAP) composite polymer membrane was prepared by the direct blend process and solution casting method. The characteristic properties of the PVA/HAP composite polymer membranes were investigated using thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), micro-Raman spectroscopy and the AC impedance method. An alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell, consisting of an air cathode with MnO2 carbon inks based on Ni-foam, an anode with PtRu black on Ni-foam, and the PVA/HAP composite polymer membrane, was assembled and investigated. It was found that the alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell comprising of a novel cheap PVA/HAP composite polymer membrane showed an improved electrochemical performance in ambient temperature and air. As a result, the maximum power density of the alkaline DEFC, using a PtRu anode based on Ni-foam (10.74 mW cm−2), is higher than that of DEFC using an E-TEK PtRu anode based on carbon (7.56 mW cm−2) in an 8M KOH + 2M C2H5OH solution at ambient temperature and air. These PVA/HAP composite polymer membranes are a potential candidate for alkaline DEFC applications.
PVA/HAP Composite Polymer membrane Direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC) Alkaline
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Financial support from the National Science Council, Taiwan (Project No: NSC-96-2221-E131-032) is gratefully acknowledged.