The development of inorganic and organic/inorganic membranes for DMFC application
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A fuel cell is an energy device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Low temperature fuel cells, namely the hydrogen fuel cell and the direct methanol fuel cell are preferred amongst other fuel cell types for stationary and vehicular applications, due to their small size and their low operating temperature. The direct methanol fuel cell has several advantages over the hydrogen fuel cell including ease of transport and storage since methanol is a liquid. Since methanol is used directly in the cell there is no need for a reforming process, which results in a less complicated system. However, direct methanol fuel cell are in their infancy and many problems need to be overcome before reaching commercialization. The direct methanol fuel cell has several disadvantages, namely, the sluggish methanol oxidation reaction, the high cost of state-of-the-art proton exchange membranes, the high methanol permeability from anode to cathode and the dependence on the conductivity on membrane water content, which limits their use to temperatures below the boiling point of water, while the need is to work at high temperatures. Attempts to overcome the disadvantages of the state-of-the-art membrane were made in this study, including the development on novel proton exchange membranes and also the modification of existing state-of-the-art membranes.