About this Research Topic
Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is an energy conversion device which converts the chemical energy of a fuel (such as hydrogen) to electricity. It has been regarded as one of the most promising energy generation technologies for transport, stationary and portable applications due to several attractive properties such as high efficiency, close-to-zero emission, etc. However, the widespread commercialization of PEMFC is still hindered by critical issues, such as high cost and poor durability. The development of advanced materials such as high electroactive catalysts and alternative polymer exchange membranes can therefore significantly improve the cell performance of PEMFCs at a fraction of the cost of conventional materials (Pt/C and perfluorinated membranes), thus promoting their commercialization .
The high cost of PEMFCs mainly originates from the platinum catalyst (Pt/C) and from the polymer electrolyte membranes (such as Nafion). In addition, the Pt/C catalyst easily degrades, for example via platinum dissolution, Ostwald ripening, agglomeration, particle detachment and carbon corrosion. Furthermore, the inferior stability of commercial polymer electrolyte membranes (e.g. Nafion) at high temperature strongly limit the operation conditions of PEMFCs. With a polymer electrolyte membrane with better thermal stability, the operation temperature of PEMFCs can be elevated, much cheaper hydrogen fuel with low purity can be used, and the power density of the cell can be greatly improved.
Recently, numerous efforts have been devoted to the development of non-noble metal catalysts and novel polymer electrolyte membrane materials. Simultaneously, first principle calculations and molecular dynamics simulations have also been widely employed to investigate the catalytic mechanism, as well as the transportation behavior, which deepens our understanding towards the basic chemical and physical processes, and significantly accelerates the exploration of advanced materials.
The editors of this Research Topic welcome both computational and experimental explorations of advanced materials for polymer electrolyte fuel cells including, but not limited, to the following areas:
• Experimental and theoretical design of advanced polymer electrolyte membrane materials for PEMFCs
• Experimental and theoretical design of advanced catalyst materials for PEMFCs
• First principle study on the catalytic mechanism of new catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction and hydrogen oxidation reaction
• Molecular dynamics studies on the microscopic charge transport phenomena in polymer electrolyte membrane
• Advanced materials for PEMFCs
Keywords: PEMFCs, Proton Exchange Membrane, Oxygen Reduction Reaction, Catalysts, Atomistic Simulations
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