Authors: Takashi Kawabata, Yasumitsu Matsuo
We have fabricated a fuel cell based on the tissue-derived biomaterial “chitin”, and investigated its proton conductivity. It was found that chitin becomes the electrolyte of the fuel cell in the humidified condition, and power density of the fuel cell using chitin electrolyte becomes typically 1.35 mW/cm2 at the 100% relative humidity. This result is the first result showing that the polysaccharide obtained from nature becomes the fuel cell electrolyte. Moreover, this result indicates that chitin is proton conductor in the humidified condition. In the chitin sheet plane, proton conductivity in chitin is observed approximately 0.1 S/m. Further, it was also found that chitin has the anisotropic proton conductivity. The proton conductivity along the chitin fiber direction is higher than that perpendicular to the chitin fiber direction. From these results, it is deduced that the formation of water bridges accompanied by hydration plays an important role in the appearance of proton conductivity in chitin.
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