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Expanding cellulose’s boundaries towards the fabrication of superior proton conductive membranes for fuel cells
Project status: Ongoing
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Project code: PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2020-0476

No.: PCE 19/2021

Contract Authority: UEFISCDI

Contractor: ICMPP

Budget: 1 198 032 lei

Duration: 36 months

The project propose a new approach to construct proton conductive membranes based on a cheap, abundant, and renewable resource, based on cellulose. The strategy involves firstly, selective oxidation and functionalization of cellulose, in order to increase its versatility, by introduction high amounts of carboxylic groups, able to serve as active sites of proton conductivity.

Besides, nanocellulose prepared from agricultural wastes will act as a redoubtable reinforcing agent as well as providing high proton conductivity. Moreover, this matrix will incorporate different nitrogen-containing heterocycles. These heterocycles are “dry” proton conducting ionomers which can substitute water because they form similar hydrogen bond networks as water. The complex interactions between the polymeric matrix (abundant in the COOH and OH groups) and the low molecular weight heterocyclic dopant, bearing nitrogen atoms and double bonds, create favorable prerequisites to realize new materials with conductive properties. The replacement of water by heterocycles should result in the cellulose based composites characterized by the conductivity in the intermediate temperature range (over 100°C), under anhydrous conditions, desirable for various electrochemical devices, and are relevant in modern material science.

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