Porous Organic Salts To Stabilize Fuel Cells

Scientists in China have developed a new class of porous organic salts with high proton conductivity to power fuel cells.

AsianScientist (Apr. 27, 2018) – Researchers in China have successfully developed a new class of crystalline porous organic salts. Their findings, published in Angewandte Chemie, could lead to more efficient electrolytes for fuel cells.

Porous organic materials are potentially useful for many applications, including catalytic systems, separation processes and gas storage. Although these framework-like structures vary greatly, they have one thing in common: their components are connected through covalent bonds.

Porous organic salts, on the other hand, are a new class of materials with components held together by ionic bonds, the attractive forces between positive and negatively charged ions. They are challenging to produce because their pores usually collapse; the ionic bonds of previously known organic salts are not strong enough to stabilize a porous structure.

A team of researchers led by Professor Ben Teng at Jilin University has now successfully combined organic bases and acids to produce salts with very strong bonds and defined crystalline structures that form stable pore systems. These highly porous solids have the highest inner surface area ever found in an organic salt.

The pores in the salts form one-dimensional channels and can hold water. The water molecules are bound to each other and to the charged groups through hydrogen bonding. These aspects give the salts their unusually high proton conductivity.

Materials with high proton conductivity have become the focus of attention because they are good electrolytes for fuel cells. Scientists have been searching for more efficient, robust electrolytes. Since porous organic salts can conduct protons and are very stable at high temperatures, they are potential candidates for next-generation fuel cell electrolytes.

The article can be found at: Xing et al. (2018) Synthesis of Crystalline Porous Organic Salts with High Proton Conductivity.


Source: Wiley; Photo: Shutterstock.
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