Material Processing of Bamboo for Use as Gas Diffusion Layer in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Significance Statement

This manuscript reports our novel approach for bamboo to employ as a gas diffusion layer (GDL) of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), which is a representative result from the corroboration research of Oita University and Silverloy Co. Ltd, OSAKA, JAPAN.

Bamboo is known to be one of the fastest growing plants, and bamboo forests are considered to act as large carbon sinks, giving it an advantage over other sustainable bioresources. On the other hand, it is reported by the other researchers that the rapid growth of bamboo unfortunately leads to biodiversity loss. This is a serious disadvantage of bamboo in terms of its environmental impact. If a method can be developed to allow the use of bamboo in PEMFC, the environmental impacts regarding to CO2 emission and biodiversity loss are expected to be reduced owing to the characteristics of bamboo as well as PEMFC.

In this study, we prepared bamboo fibers (Phyllostachys edulis, moso bamboo) via mechanical treatment, delignification in NaOH solution at 120 oC, and subsequent defibration using an electric blender. The machines for mechanical treatments were specially developed by Silverloy Co. Ltd. The resulting bamboo fibers with an average diameter of ca. 12.2 micrometer were then molded into the desired sheet morphology (bamboo fiber sheet) via a paper-making procedure, and finally, the fiber sheets were subjected to carbonization to give carbonized bamboo fiber sheet (CBFS). The PEMFC operation test was demonstrated using CBFS, with a maximum power output comparable to that of commercially available CPs.

This study was supported by The Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (ERTDF), from The Ministry of Environment, JAPAN, and partially supported by the Venture Business Support Program from Oita University.

 

Journal Reference

ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng.2015, 3 (7), pp 1374–1380.

Taro Kinumoto*, Takuya Matsumura, Koki Yamaguchi, Miki Matsuoka, Tomoki Tsumura, Masahiro Toyoda

Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Oita University, 700 Dannoharu, Oita 870-1192,Japan

*Tel. & Fax: +81-97-554-7905. E-mail: [email protected].

Abstract

The material processing procedure of bamboo was investigated for use as a gas diffusion layer (GDL) of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). Bamboo fibers were obtained from (Phyllostachys edulis, moso bamboo) through mechanical treatment, delignification in NaOH solution at 120 °C, and subsequent defibration using an electric blender. The fibers contained cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin as 70, 20, and 10 wt %, respectively. The fibers were molded into bamboo fiber sheets (BFS) and were subjected to carbonization to give CBFS, in which the fibrous morphology remained. Both the in-plane and the through-plane electrical conductivities were measured after carbonization. For the first time, a single PEMFC operation test was demonstrated using CBFS as a GDL. As current GDLs are based on carbon fiber obtained from fossil fuel resources, the implementation of a plant-based method for GDL production would be beneficial in terms of CO2 reduction as well as sustainability.

Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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Material Processing of Bamboo Use Gas Diffusion Layer Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells .Renewable Energy Global Innovations

 

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