CE05 - Une énergie durable, propre, sûre et efficace

Multi-Stabilized Hybrid Membranes for Fuel Cell and Electrolyser – MULTISTABLE

Submission summary

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are weather dependent andintermittent by nature. The hydrogen technology offers thanks to the proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer (PEMWE) a chemical storage solution for the intermittent renewable electric energy produced, this chemical energy being available to be later restored again in the form of electricity by the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The PEMWE/PEMFC couple is therefore a solution for sustainable development thanks to renewable hydrogen. In order to ensure the perennial emergence of this technology, the membrane must allow the PEMWE operation at high pressure (typically 50 bars) for a distribution of hydrogen without additional energy cost. In the case of PEMFC, the membrane must operate at high temperature (100-120°C) and therefore low relative humidity (10-50%) in order to improve performances and tolerance of the catalysts to pollutants found in the feed gases.
However, perfluorinated electrolytes, the benchmark systems, known for their excellent chemical stability, lose most of their mechanical and proton conductivity properties at high temperatures/low relative humidity. Conversely, if the thermomechanical stability of sulfonated polyaromatic ionomers seems adequate, their proton conductivity is generally poor and their chemical durability too low.
Despite intense research efforts dedicated to the screening of alternative membranes, one has to note that no membrane can currently offer such specifications, their performances and lifetime still being insufficient. It therefore appears that the widespread implementation of this technology relies on a breakthrough at the membrane level.
A strategy for limiting the aging impact and for improving the mechanical properties of membranes consists in introducing nanofillers or fibrous reinforcements or even creating a crosslinked network. The results obtained, which are based on incremental approaches, remain so far delusive. Finally, a multitude of polymer electrolytes are available and potentially interesting for PEMFC applications after improvements of their chemical, mechanical and/or proton conductivity.
The MULTISTABLE project intends to improve all the properties of available commercial polymer electrolyte membrane for PEMFC via a versatile approach based on Sol-Gel (SG) chemistry, disruptive vs the traditional incremental innovations. Indeed, preliminary studies have shown that SG precursors can be easily introduced into a host commercial membrane to form inside a 3D SG network improving its mechanical properties acting as reinforcers. The disruptive concept of MULTISTABLE consists in using the SG phase to introduce chemical degradation’s inihibitors and therefore to solve the PEM limitations. Indeed this SG phase can reduce the oxidative species present in FC if the SG precursors are bearing reactive organofunctional groups acting as stabilizer. These organofunctional groups can be of sacrificial type (consumed over time) or redox (self-regenerating). MULTISTABLE aims at combining these two approaches, sacrificial and redox, in order to guarantee an optimal protection of the membrane, whatever the lifespan of the degrading species formed in fuel cell (radicals and hydrogen peroxide) and the intrinsic sensitivity of the polymer membrane (greater reactivity of sacrificial sites versus redox). Finally, the SG route may allow the introduction of additional acid groups to ensure optimum conductivity of the membrane in fuel cell. MULTISTABLE therefore aims to develop high performance and durable hybrid membranes for transport and stationary applications.

Project coordination

Laurent GONON (Systèmes Moléculaires et nano Matériaux pour l'Energie et la Santé)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


SyMMES-UGA Systèmes Moléculaires et nano Matériaux pour l'Energie et la Santé
LEMTA Laboratoire d'énergétique et de mécanique théorique et appliquée

Help of the ANR 562,247 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2019 - 42 Months

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