BASF has developed a proton-conductive membrane that can be used at temperatures of up to 180°C for robust fuel cell systems and more efficient separation of hydrogen from gas mixtures.
Cyclical operation, various impurities in the gas flow, and changing application conditions can all stress the materials used in high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrochemical hydrogen separation systems.
This is where Celtec® membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) show their strength. The core of the MEA, the Celtec® membrane, allows operation at temperatures between 120 und 180°C, enabling high tolerance of impurities and simplifying water management.
BASF has been manufacturing Celtec® MEAs for fuel cells for 15 years. Customers’ as well as in-house tests have confirmed their long-term stability and high performance, even under demanding operating conditions. For the past five years, BASF has been testing Celtec® technology for electrochemical hydrogen separation.
Anodes, membranes, cathodes and an internal seal are combined in the MEA. The customer can then use the MEA in a stack to generate electricity in the fuel cell or separate hydrogen.
The membrane, which is produced from different intermediates by a patented sol-gel process, is gas-proof and contains phosphoric acid for proton conduction.
Gas diffusion electrodes consist of woven carbon coated with catalysts. These distribute the gases, split hydrogen and oxygen, and conduct electrons. They are classified as anodes (hydrogen oxidation) and cathodes (oxygen reduction).