Performance Improvement of Polysulfone Membrane Fillered by Nanosilica Boiler Ash Sugarcane Industry on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

Illah Sailah, Andes Ismayana, Akhiruddin Maddu, Tyara Puspaningrum, Angga Yuhistira Aryanto, Nastiti Siswi Indrasti


Nanosilica from boiler ash sugarcane indutry can be utilized as filler for electrolyte membrane as it could increase hydrophilicity and performances. Electrolyte membrane is the key component of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). Polysulfone-nanosilica membrane has been developed to replace expensive nafion membrane. The objectives of this research were to analyze the effects of H2SO4 concentration of 1.5 M, 2 M, and 2.5 M as sulfonating agent for  polysulfone and the effects of Ag/ C or Cu/ C catalyst  on membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performances. The sulfonation degree of polysulfone were increased with increased of H2SO4 concentration. Sulfonated polysulfone membrane with H2SO4 2.5 M concentration gave the highest performances for this research with water uptake of 45.72%, methanol uptake of 28.33%, methanol permeability of 6.97x10 -5 cm2/s, proton conductivity of 6.55x10-3 S/cm, and potential difference of 66.70 mV. Fabrication of MEA with Cu/C and Ag/C catalyst also increased proton conductivity and potential difference significanly. MEA 20% Ag/C catalyst gave proton conductivity of 23.79x10-3 S/cm and potential difference of 281 mV MEA which were better than 20% Cu/C catalyst and electrolyte membrane without catalyst.


boiler ash; direct methanol fuel cell; membrane electrode assembly; nanosilica; polysulfone.

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