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Novel proton-conducting MOF composites for fuel cell devices

19th national competition for scientific and technical research

Renewable energy: materials and processes

Senior Researcher : Patricia Horcajada Cortés

Research Centre or Institution : IMDEA Energía.



The aim of this project is to develop new technologies for sustainable energy production. In particular, it is focused on the preparation of novel materials as electrolytes for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs). To achieve this general goal, the project is divided in 4 scientific objectives Design and synthesis of new hybrid porous crystalline materials known as Metal-Organic Frameworks or MOFs as fuel cells electrolytes; Development of composite materials based on MOFs and different species with already proven conductivity; Complete characterization of the previously synthetized materials, including structural elucidation and investigation of their proton conductive properties; and Fuel cells development. During this project, more than 15 new MOF-type structures based on polyphosphonate ligands and different metals (Cu, Bi, Ni, Zr, etc.) have been synthesized. In particular, those based on Bi and Zr standing out, which have not only shown competitive conductivity values, but also excellent thermal and chemical stability. In addition, different composite materials have been prepared, either by introducing proton carrier species or by cation exchange within the MOF structure, showing similar conductivity values to the currently used commercial electrolytes. The developed materials present a great potential to be tested in fuel cells, not only due to their conductivity but also to their improved cyclability, associated to their robustness. In addition, the incorporation of the most promising materials into polymeric membranes was evaluated, assessing their chemical and mechanical stability. These membranes are currently under study for fuel cell assembly, also considering the incorporation of the MOF in the catalytic layer of the device. Within the framework of this project, 12 scientific articles have already been published in prestigious international journals, also presenting the results in 16 conferences. It should be noted that the most promising results have been protected by patent.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 12
Communications at national conferences 12
Communications at international conferences 4


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Revista FRA Nº 27

Septiembre 2022 Journal

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