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Involatile Protic Electrolytes and Ionic Acids for Fuel Cells and Other Applications


Background: Currently there is a surge in interest in fuel cell research as companies across the globe race to take advantage of the high energy capacity that fuel cells provide in comparison to other portable electrochemical systems. Many approaches to fuel cell technology use strong acid electrolytes. Such systems suffer from corrosion problems which limit their functional life. Despite significant research in the area there remains a need for higher-performance proton carriers for use in fuel cells. Technology Description: Researchers at Arizona State University have developed neutral ionic liquids which function extremely well as proton transport vehicles in fuel cell applications. These neutral liquids are free from the corrosion issues plaguing acidic cells. Likewise the addition of a certain involatile molecular base leads to a remarkable increase in cell current allowing the fuel cell to operate effectively at much lower temperatures. The protons are carried by both anions and cations as an integral part of a pronated species rather than by a Grotthus-type mechanism. Thus the stability and performance of fuel cells based on the ASU technology are superior to the current state of the art phosphoric acid cells. A high-output stable long-lasting fuel cell can now be constructed. Applications: Fuel cells Patent Status: Pending


1) Higher Conductivity – One configuration of the electrolytes has the highest conductivity ever recorded for a non-aqueous liquid. 2) Wide Operating Temperature – These compounds exhibit a boiling point in excess of 200° C. 3) Low Volatility - The electrolytes exhibit high thermal stability and low ambient temperature volatility.

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Patent pending