The company PolyFuel (California) have developed a conductive membrane based on a hydrocarbon polymer that could lead to hydrogen fuel cells - designated as the future
of the "clean" automobile - cheaper and more efficient. Proton exchange membranes are a key element of fuel cells. Currently, the most used material for their manufacture is a very expensive perfluorinated polymer called "Nafion", developed by the American firm DuPont de Nemours (Delaware).
According to leaders of PolyFuel, a square meter of the new membrane would be twice cheaper and could generate a current of more than 7 6,5 against kilowatts to Nafion.
Moreover, the system would operate at higher temperatures; a significant advantage for dissipating the heat produced by the fuel cell is the less easy as the temperature difference with ambient air is low. The California company indicates, however, not yet having reached the stage of marketable product it hopes to soon. Others are also highly interested in hydrocarbon membranes, including the Japanese automaker Honda.
NYT 05 / 10 / 04 (Breakthrough membrane for fuel cells)