Ion Transfer Mechanism in Fuel Cell Technology for Eco Electricity
Eniya Listiani Dewi , Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, BPPT II,
In many countries, energy needs are growing in parallel with growing economies. Among the many potential sources of new and renewable energy, hydrogen may be the cleanest. Fuel cells are a system for generating electricity from hydrogen. Despite advances in fuel cell technology, deficiencies in the core components, the electrodes and electrolytes, may still cause power density losses of more than 60%. I will discuss the mechanism of ion transfer that occurs in both of these components, which significantly affects fuel cell performance.
Fuel cells operate through an electrochemical reaction between electrode and electrolyte, causing a potential drop due to polarization. This phenomenon is heavily influenced by the mechanism of ion transfer, either in the form of electrons in the reactivity catalyst, or proton transfer inside a proton exchange membrane fuel cell.
The biggest problem facing the catalyst is the electrode material, where multi-electron transfers are limited by the reactivity of Pt for oxygen reduction. Further, Pt as a catalyst produces peroxide as a byproduct, which can cause corrosion in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). We have found that replacing Pt with vanadium allows the electron transfer process to increase from 2 electrons transferred in the process to more than 4 electrons transferred in a single step reaction, while still allowing for the highest level of water production, minimizing peroxide formation on the zinc air fuel cell (ZAFC) . Furthermore, the proton exchange membrane (PEM) becomes the focus of operation problems, in that many of the materials used are sulfonated fluorinated polymers, such as Nafion and Flemion, and have a higher cost and lower degree of permeability. This can cause fuel cells to stop functioning with high fuel throughput.
We discuss many types of hydrocarbons that are believed to have a greater ability to conduct protons at a lower price . By controlling sulfonation  and the addition of nano-particles as a water absorber to the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymer, as well as other polymers, (ThamriON), we have created a suitable material to act as a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) in hydrogen fuel cell systems .
 Eniya L.Dewi, K.Oyaizu, H.Nishide, E.Tsuchida, Journal of Power Sources, 130, 286-290, 2004.; Journal of Power Sources, 115, 149-152, 2003.; Inorganic ChimicaActa, 342, 316-318, 2003.; Inorganic Chemistry, 42, 170-175, 2003.; Jurnal SainsMateri Indonesia, 10,1, 76-80, 2008.
 Eniya L. Dewi, H. Nakano, K. Oyaizu, H.Nishide, E.Tsuchida, Journal of Macromolecule Science, Pure and Application Chemistry,A40, 37-47, 2003.
 Sri H., Eniya L.Dewi, W.W. Purwanto, R.W. Sumantojo, World Applied Science Journal, 2010, 9(11), 1206-1212.; ISTECS Journal, X, 2007, 79-89.; Jurnal SainsMateri Indonesia, special edition, 43-47, 2008.
 Eniya L. Dewi, Patent of Indonesia, No. P02010000279.; Jurnal Nanosains&Nanoteknologi, 2, 1, 27-31, 2009.