Composite membranes for alkaline electrolysis based on polysulfone and mineral fillers
Mineral-based membranes for high temperature alkaline electrolysis were developed by a phase inversion process with polysulfone as binder. The long-term stability of new mineral fillers: wollastonite, forsterite and barite was assessed by 8000 h-long leaching experiments (5.5 M KOH, 85 degrees C) combined with thermodynamic modelling. Barite has released only 6.22 10-4 M of Ba ions into the electrolyte and was selected as promising filler material, due to its excellent stability. Barite-based membranes, prepared by the phase inversion process, were further studied. The resistivity of these membranes in 5.5 M KOH was investigated as a function of membrane thickness and total porosity, hydrodynamic porosity as well as gas purities determined by conducting electrolysis at ambient conditions. It was found that a dense top layer resulting from the phase inversion process, shows resistivity values up to 451.0 +/- 22 Omega cm, which is two orders of magnitude higher than a porous bulk membrane microstructure (3.89 Omega cm). Developed membranes provided hydrogen purity of 99.83 at 200 mA cm(-2), which is comparable to previously used chrysotile membranes and higher than commercial state-of-the-art Zirfon 500utp membrane. These cost-effective polysulfone - barite membranes are promising candidates as asbestos replacement for commercial applications. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.