Utilization of conducting polymers in fabricating polymer electrolyte membranes for application in direct methanol fuel cells

Kingshuk Dutta, Piyush Kumar, Suparna Das, Patit P. Kundu

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63 Scopus citations


Search for suitable materials for fabricating polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) for application in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, and particularly in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), has been an important field of research for the last several decades. Notable candidates that have emerged from this extensive and seemingly exhaustive research are Nafion®, poly(vinylidenefluoride), sulfonated poly(etheretherketone), poly(benzimidazole), Dow XUS®, Flemion® R, 3P-energy, Aciplex-S®, Gore-Tex®, Gore-Select®, and their different blends, copolymers and interpenetrating networks with compounds, such as poly(hexafluoropropylene), poly(acrylonitrile), poly(styrenesulfonate), and poly(methylmethacrylate). Nevertheless, the objective of achieving a much reduced methanol crossover, while maintaining a substantial level of proton conductivity, has remained by and large elusive. However, a ray of hope has been provided by conducting polymers (CPs), and this has led to a considerable number of researchers to plunge into the exploitation of this possibility. This review focuses on the application of CPs, mainly polyaniline and polypyrrole, as PEM constituents. Detailed comparisons between their functioning, and their respective utility in terms of achieving this objective have been provided. We have also discussed the following critical points: first, the effect of CPs on methanol crossover, proton conductivity, and gas diffusion, and second, thermal stability of CPs in the temperature range within which DMFC operates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalPolymer Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Kingshuk Dutta would like to thank the CSIR for providing a Senior Research Fellowship. Piyush Kumar is thankful to the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) for an INSPIRE fellowship. Patit P. Kundu is thankful to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for a grant-in-aid and a fellowship to Suparna Das.


  • conducting polymers
  • direct methanol fuel cell
  • methanol crossover
  • polymer electrolyte membrane
  • proton conductivity


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