Investigation of SPES as PEM for hydrogen production through electrochemical reforming of aqueous methanol


SPES was successfully used as PEM for hydrogen production through methanol electrolysis.

SPES membrane based MEA exhibits current density of 0.802 A/cm2 at a cell voltage of 1.2 V at 80 °C.

SPES based PEMEC shows improved hydrogen production and good durability.

SPES solid electrolyte membrane could be an effectual substitute to expensive Nafion membranes.


A polymer electrolyte membrane for hydrogen production through methanol electrolysis was prepared by converting poly ether sulfone (PES) into ionomer via sulfonation and fashioned into membrane. The physical and electrochemical properties of the prepared membrane and a single cell using the fabricated membrane are examined using various characterization techniques, such as, FTIR spectrometry, scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, tensile strength measurement, ion exchange capacity, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and polarization studies. A current density of 0.802 A/cm2 was obtained at a cell voltage of 1.2 V at 80 °C with the sulfonated polyethersulfone (SPES) based membrane electrode assembly (MEA) under suitable fabrication conditions. The energy requirements for hydrogen production are also compared with conventional water electrolysis. The observational results suggest that SPES membrane could be an option to costly perfluorosulfonate membranes in methanol electrolysis for hydrogen production.

Graphical abstract


  • SPES;
  • PEM;
  • Methanol;
  • Hydrogen production;
  • Electrolyser

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