Mariska Hattenberger


Supervisors: Dr. Waldemar Bujalski, Dr. Surbhi Sharma, Dr. Valerie Self, Dr. John Richmond


DTC Project – Intermediate and high temperature membrane materials for fuel cell application


Mariska graduated with The Open University in 2010 in Molecular Sciences and commenced at The University of Birmingham in January 2011 on the EPSRC funded program for Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and their applications.

Mariska’s project focuses on the development of novel membrane materials for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs).Although this technology has been extensively researched and developed throughout the last 20 years, there are many current issues to overcome. Three main areas are cost, which must be reduced significantly to achieve competitive price levels, durability of component parts and reliability of the overall PEMFC.

The development of HT-PEMFC systems (= 200°C) has gained great interest due to the enhanced electrode kinetics, CO tolerance in hydrogen streams and heat management. On either side of the temperature scale, Nafion® and polybenzimidazole doped with phosphoric acid (PBI/H3PO4) are the most efficient proton conducting membranes. 

A current literature search reveals research on many promising polymeric membranes. Some PEMs require the presence of water for conductivity (perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) and sulfonated aromatic polymers) whilst others are acid-base complexes and can conduct in dry conditions (PBI/H3PO4). The aim of this project is to develop membrane materials that are suitable for use in an IT/HT-PEMFC with low humidification of reactant gases. In order to do this, various methods of membrane preparation will be explored and the resulting materials will be tested ex-situ and in-situ. We will use the results to develop novel PEM materials.


Conferences and Events Attended:

  • 1st international LoLiPEM Workshop. Long life membranes; preparation and characterization (Rome)
  • 7th Anual International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Conference (NEC, Birmingham)