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Smart Membrane for hydrogen energy conversion: All fuel cell functionalities in One Material (SMAllinOne)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Mar 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

A breakthrough of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) requires a radical performances improvement of the key fuel cell material components (catalysts and protonic membrane) as well as highly innovative solutions to overcome the membrane assembly and integration limitations. Actual PEM fuel cells presents Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) architecture corresponding to a proton conductive membrane hot pressed between two catalytic electrodes. However, the MEA performance is limited by the interface effect between catalytic layer and membrane. To overcome this problem, the SMAllInOne project introduces a “SMart All in One” membrane concept. In this approach, a catalytic network is directly implanted in the thin film protonic membrane. This novel composite material is particularly well adapted for fuel cell technologies as there is no boundary between the membrane and the electrodes. Moreover, several functionalities will be added to this material in order to confer it smart properties such as water and crossover management, tailored porosity and 3D conformability. The scientific and technological objectives of the project are: • To synthesize bifunctional polymerizable and volatile precursors (alkenyl & sulfonyl) to prevent the destruction of the acidic functions during the thin film membrane realization • To create a network of percolated platinum nano-particles inside both faces of the membrane to ensure simultaneously a good catalytic efficiency and electronic conductivity • To enhance electronic conductivity by a tailored doping of material with gold particles by the surface • To study and propose a water and crossover management solution by adding functional hydrophilic particles to keep the membrane wet and Pt particles to getter hydrogen linkage • To avoid the fuel depletion by controlling the porosity using a porogen approach The consortium consists of 7 partners from 5 European countries including 2 SMEs.

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