People in the PEM fuel cell industry are trying very hard to develop thinner members for better ion conductivity and lower cost. However, a thinner membrane can cause hydrogen and oxygen gas to pass through (fuel crossover), resulting in low fuel efficiency and durability issues.
Perfluorosulfonic Acid (PFSA) material is the most commonly used material for PEM membranes. Because fluoride-materials are toxic, the use of PFSA membranes may be regulated in the future. To avoid this issue, the industry needs to find a substitute material.
Mpower has developed a first of its kind Covalent Organic Framework (COF) membrane for PEM applications. This membrane has staggered stacking, which has shown to inhibit gas transport and is desirable to prevent fuel crossover. Through customizing the COF functional group, Mpower can promote great proton conduction and achieve great acid resistivity. Because the COF membrane we develop contains minimal fluoride material, no environmental or health issues will happen.
In the fuel cell vehicle, catalyst comprises nearly 20% of the fuel cell system cost. Platinum is the primary metal that is used for PEMFC catalyst nowadays. Without a technology breakthrough, it will be difficult to significantly reduce the amount of platinum used for the catalyst. The high cost of platinum will remain an obstacle. Therefore, the industry must find alternatives to replace platinum in order to make fuel cell affordable.
Mpower is able to use base metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, etc. to replace platinum as a catalyst. With our functional porous material technology, the catalytic performance of these metals is similar or equal to that of platinum. Therefore, the cost of the catalyst in fuel cell production can be significantly reduced because the cost of base metals is 100 times less than that of platinum.