High-Performance Bipolar Membrane Development for Improved Water Dissociation

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Bipolar membranes (BPMs) are the enabling component of many promising electrochemical devices used for separation and energy conversion. Here, we describe the development of high-performance BPMs, including two-dimensional BPMs (2D BPMs) prepared by hot-pressing two preformed membranes and three-dimensional BPMs (3D BPMs) prepared by electrospinning ionomer solutions and polyethylene oxide. Graphene oxide (GOx) was introduced into the BPM junction as a water-dissociation catalyst. We assessed electrochemical performance of the prepared BPMs by voltage-current (V-I) curves and galvanostatic electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. We found the optimal GOxloading in 2D BPMs to be 100 μg cm-2, which led to complete coverage of GOxat the interface. The integration of GOxbeyond this loading moderately improved electrochemical performance but significantly compromised mechanical strength. GOx-catalyzed 2D BPMs showed comparable performance with a commercially available Fumasep BPM at current densities up to 500 mA cm-2. The 3D BPMs exhibited even better performance: lower resistance and higher efficiency for water dissociation and substantially higher stability under repeated cycling up to high current densities. The improved electrochemical performance and mechanical stability of the 3D BPMs make them suitable for incorporation into CO2electrolysis devices where high current densities are necessary.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4559-4569
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - 13 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 ACS. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77049


  • AC impedance
  • bipolar membranes
  • electrospun nanofibers
  • flow cell
  • graphene oxide
  • three-dimensional junction


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