Fuel cells are an important technology for a potentially wide variety of applications including
micropower, auxiliary power, transportation power, stationary power for buildings and other
distributed generation applications, and central power. These applications will be in a large
number of industries worldwide.
When fuel cells were first suggested and discussed back in the nineteenth century,
it was firmly hoped that distinctly higher efficiencies could be attained with them
when converting the chemical energy of natural fuels to electric power. Now
that the world supply of fossil fuels is seen to be finite, this hope turns into
a need, into a question of maintaining advanced standards of life.
Background The vast majority of research into solid-state polymer electrolytes for low-temperature (o200 1C) fuel cells has focused on proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells (PEMFCs). Recently, there has been interest in the application of the analogous anion-exchange membranes (AEMs), in alkaline forms, in low-temperature fuel cells (Figure 1).