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Benjamin Britton

Benjamin Britton
Ionomr Innovations Inc. · Executive

PhD
Ionomr - high-performance, fully hydrocarbon alkaline-stable AEMs (Aemion®) for AEMWE+CO2RR & PEMs (Pemion®) for PEMFC

About

33
Publications
15,050
Reads
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867
Citations
Introduction
I specialize in catalyst layer and single-cell characterization of fully hydrocarbon PEMFCs, AEMFCs, and AEM electrolyzers.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - November 2018
Simon Fraser University
Position
  • Researcher
Education
May 2012 - December 2018
Simon Fraser University
Field of study
  • Chemistry

Publications

Publications (33)
Article
We report on poly(arylene-imidazoliums), which were synthesized by microwave polycondensation of dialdehyde with bisbenzil and quantitatively functionalized by alkylation. This cationic polyelectrolyte is sterically protected around the C2-position and is stable in 10 M KOHaq at 100 °C (t1/2 of >5000 h). Alkaline stability is rationalized through a...
Article
We report on copolymerizations of a pre‐functionalized, tetra‐sulfonated oligophenylene monomer, and by varying the ratio of hydrophobic to hydrophilic units within the polymers, we tune corresponding physical and electrochemical polymer properties. Membranes prepared therefrom possess ion exchange capacities ranging from 1.86 to 3.50 meq g‐1 and e...
Article
Catalyst ink for anion-exchange catalyst coated membranes based on FuMA-Tech FAA-3 membranes and ionomer typically requires high-boiling solvents. Here, we investigate the disproportionate effect of even small quantities of high-boiling solvent in the catalyst ink on the catalyst layer microstructure. High porosity in themesoporous regime, 20–100 n...
Article
Two classes of novel sulfonated phenylated polyphenylene ionomers are investigated as polyaromatic-based proton exchange membranes. Both types of ionomer possess high ion exchange capacities yet are insoluble in water at elevated temperatures. They exhibit high proton conductivity under both fully hydrated conditions and reduced relative humidity,...
Article
A hydroxide-conducting polymer, HMT-PMBI, which is prepared by methylation of poly[2,2′-(2,2″,4,4″,6,6″-hexamethyl-p-terphenyl-3,3″-diyl)-5,5′-bibenzimidazole] (HMT-PBI), is utilized as both the polymer electrolyte membrane and ionomer in an alkaline anion-exchange membrane fuel cell and alkaline polymer electrolyzer. A fuel cell operating between...
Article
The realm of hydrocarbon-based polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) has undergone substantial changes over the past decade. A new era has emerged, based upon strong, fundamental R&D emphasizing both improved performance across a wider range of operating conditions, and greater combined chemical-mechanical stability, when integrated into a state-of-...
Article
Non-fluorinated hydrocarbon ionomers feature distinct technical, cost, and environmental advantages over incumbent perfluorinated sulfonic acid (PFSA)-based ionomers: they offer improved thermo-mechanical properties at temperatures beyond 90 °C, likelihood of lower material cost, lower gas cross-over, and facile recycling of platinum group metals....
Article
Full-text available
Anion exchange membranes (AEMs) have shown a significant rise in performance and durability within recent years for applications such as electrolysis and fuel cells. However, in vanadium redox-flow batteries, their use is of particular interest to lower costs and self-discharge rates compared to conventional perfluorinated sulfonic acid-based ionom...
Article
Anion-exchange membrane water electrolyzers (AEMWEs) have seen a significant rise in performance and durability in recent years. However, systematic studies of membrane-electrode assembly parameters such as ionomer and catalyst contents...
Article
There has been considerable interest in alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) for use in electrochemical applications such as water electrolyzers, reverse electrodialysis and fuel cells. ¹ However, development of AAEMs has long been hindered by the instability of commonly-used cationic groups (e.g., ammonium, phosphonium) under conditions of hi...
Article
Full-text available
Implementing Li–S cells using high S loading and lean electrolyte content is considered the only viable way to achieve competitive specific energy for practical applications. However, under these conditions, the cell cycle life and performance are drastically reduced due to the severe polysulfide shuttle effect, electrolyte depletion, and sluggish...
Article
Full-text available
Thin ionomer membranes are considered key to achieve high performances in anion exchange membrane fuel cells. However, the handling of unsupported anion exchange membranes with thicknesses below 15 μm is challenging. Typical pre-treatments of KOH-soaking, DI-water rinsing and/or wet assembly with sub-15 μm thin films are particularly problematic. I...
Poster
Full-text available
Summary of a recent publication of a modified PBI based AEM for applications in all vanadium redox flow batteries
Article
Full-text available
We present the first results of an anion exchange ionomer membrane, hexamethyl-p-terphenyl poly(benzimidazolium) (HMT-PMBI), in a vanadium redox flow battery. Anion exchange membranes exhibit superior vanadium crossover suppression compared to proton exchange membranes due to the Gibbs–Donnan effect. HMT-PMBI was benchmarked against a similarly thi...
Article
A sulfonated poly(arylene ether sulfone) multiblock copolymer bearing perfluorosulfonic acid side chains has been studied as both the membrane and cathode catalyst layer ionomer in fuel cell membrane-electrode assemblies. The multi-block, hydrocarbon-backbone polymer was designed to possess good conductivity with low ion exchange capacity and low w...
Article
Bond polarization of doped atoms and carbon and lattice defects are considered important aspects in the catalytic mechanisms of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) on heteroatom-doped carbon catalysts. Previous work on metal-free catalysts has focused either on bond polarization or lattice defects. Here multi-heteroatom doped defect-enriched carbon nan...
Article
Two classes of novel sulfonated phenylated polyphenylene ionomers are investigated as polyaromatic-based proton exchange membranes. Both types of ionomer possess high ion exchange capacities yet are insoluble in water at elevated temperatures. They exhibit high proton conductivity under both fully hydrated conditions and reduced relative humidity,...
Article
Platinum catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells need to be replaced by abundant and inexpensive materials to enable a sustainable hydrogen energy economy. In article number 1600038, Simon Thiele and co-workers demonstrate tri-doped reduced graphene oxide to be a low-cost and sustainable alternative to platinum in hydrogen fuel cell cathodes. Cover illust...
Article
Recently, it has been demonstrated that doping of graphene by elements such as N, S, or F creates active sites for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). This results from bond polarization caused by the difference in electronegativity between heteroatom dopants and carbon, and/or the presence of defects within the graphene lattice. In this work, flu...
Article
Sulfur doped reduced graphene oxide (S-rGO) is investigated for catalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in acidic and alkaline electrolytes. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy shows that sulfur in S-rGO is predominantly integrated as thiophene motifs within graphene sheets. The overall sulfur content is determined to be approxi...
Article
Full-text available
A series of sterically encumbered, sulfonated, alternating poly(arylene ether) copolymers were synthesized so as to compare the effects of incorporating ketone and sulfone groups on the proton conductivity and performance of fuel cells of membranes prepared. Therefore, the polymers were prepared by polymerization of 4,4′-difluorobenzophenone or bis...
Article
In a previous study, we reported that polymer electrolyte fuel cells prepared by direct membrane deposition (DMD) produced power densities in excess of 4 W/cm². In this study, the underlying origins that give rise to these high power densities are investigated and reported. The membranes of high power, DMD-fabricated fuel cells are relatively thin...
Article
Sterically-encumbered, sulfonated poly(phenylene)s are an interesting group of hydrocarbon materials for use in low Pt-content catalyst layers because they potentially offer high conductivity, high thermo-oxidative stability, and appear less-prone to strong adsorption on Pt – a process that typically reduces the electroactive surface area. Frequent...
Article
While perfluorinated sulfonic acid (PFSA) membrane and ionomer materials such as Nafion ® form the standard for high-performance proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), the limited and difficult chemistry of perfluorinated materials hampers further material development to extended fuel cell performances and lifetimes, while the high cost of p...
Article
Alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cells have become a topic of substantial interest in recent years, opening up a new electrochemical environment for hydrogen fuel cells. Facile kinetics for the oxygen reduction reaction open the promise of non-PGM or even non-metal AEMFCs, and radical stability. The most challenging aspect for the field, as de...
Article
We present a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) manufacturing route, in which a thin layer of polymer electrolyte solution is spray-coated on top of gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs) to work as a proton exchange membrane. Without the need for a pre-made membrane foil, this allows inexpensive, fast, large-scale fabrication of membrane-electrod...
Article
We report the synthesis and molecular characterization of structurally defined, sulfo-phenylated, oligo- and polyphenylenes that incorporate a novel tetra-sulfonic acid bistetracyclone monomer. The utility of this monomer in the [4 + 2] Diels-Alder cycloaddition to produce well-defined, sulfonated oligophenylenes and pre-functionalized polyphenylen...
Article
Direct membrane deposition was used to produce record platinum catalyst utilization efficiency polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. The novel membrane fabrication technique was applied to gas diffusion electrodes with low Pt-loadings of 0.102 and 0.029 mg/cm2. Under oxygen atmosphere and 300 kPaabs total pressure, 88 kW/gPt cathodic catalyst ut...
Conference Paper
With DMD we obtain significantly higher cell performances compared to a reference fuel cell with a 20 µm thin Nafion® HP CCM as shown in figure 2. All cells were assembled using electrodes with identical Pt-loading (0.5 mg/cm²). Even though the power density is still inferior to an inkjet-printed cell, this gives a promising perspective to this MEA...
Article
Full-text available
Novel sulfonated poly(arylene ether)s, characterized as being highly sterically encumbered, were synthesized for investigation as the ionomer in proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) catalyst layers. Catalyst-coated membranes were prepared via their incorporation into alcohol-based catalyst inks, devoid of the high-boiling, polar aprotic solve...

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Projects (2)
Project
This project aims on achieving size control from molecular scale to nanoscale for efficiently encapsulating S/Si NPs in rGO shells, integrated within rGO-nanoscalfolds (S/Si@rGO). The S-loading and the rGO-nanostructured pores is controlled for an efficient sulfur utilization and confinement when used as cathodes in lithium/sulfur (Li-S) batteries (LSBs). The final target is to overcome the challenges in LSB Technology. Also, this novel approach targets to achieve highly conformal rGO-encapsulated Si-NPs as anodic materials for Li-ion batteries.