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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. The fuel cell is the best alternative to compensate for today's energy demand, but the high cost of fabrication of membranes ( e.g. , Nafion) hampers the widespread commercialization. Plant-derived nanocellulose is renewable, most abundant, and biocompatible with high strength and tunable surface chemistry. Here we have demonstrated the jute derived-nitro-oxidized carboxycellulose nanofibers (NOCNFs) as a viable and sustainable substitute for synthetic ionomer membranes used in proton exchange fuel cells (PEFCs). NOCNFs were obtained in two functionalities: carboxylate and carboxylic acid which were then transformed into nanopaper I and II, respectively. This is the first report where NOCNFs with two different functionalities were tested in PEFCs. The results indicated that nanopaper II performed better than nanopaper I with a high proton conductivity of 14.2 mS cm −1 and power density of 19.1 mW cm −2 at high temperature (80 °C) operation in PEFCs, along with excellent durability even for 24 h of operation. 
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