Low cost and durable catalysts for automotive fuel cells

The successful commercialization of the automotive fuel cell requires lowering costs of key components in the fuel cell stack, such as the catalyst materials at the centre of the electrochemical cell generating the energy. Nanoparticles of platinum supported on mesoporous carbons are typical materials being used for the current generation of the fuel cell stack. To meet the cost targets for commercialization we must be able to design catalysts that can increase their activity, be used more effectively, and last the lifetime of the fuel cell car.

Hydrogen Storage in Two-Dimensional Layered Nanomaterials: Characterization

In this project, we will develop solid-state hydrogen storage materials for the potential applications of fuel cell electric vehicles. Based on the most cutting-edge achievements in related fields, two categories of two-dimensional layered nanomaterials are proposed. Their hydrogen storage capabilities will be elaborated by in-depth characterization of material structure and hydrogen storage properties.

Hydrogen Storage in Two-Dimensional Layered Nanomaterials: Synthesis

The objective of the proposed research is to investigate novel solid-state materials that have potential for hydrogen storage applications in fuel cell electric vehicles. Of interest are materials that can store hydrogen at ambient conditions and low pressures, have high gravimetric and volumetric hydrogen capacities, and can be safely packed into a hydrogen storage tank for automotive use. The research will focus on assessing the feasibility of threedimensional structures consisting of two-dimensional layered nanomaterials such as graphene as viable media to store hydrogen.

Characterization of ionomer properties of the catalyst layers of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs)

The state-of-the-art polymer electrolyte fuel cells have catalyst layers (CLs) made of platinum catalyst on carbon support (Pt/C) bound together by proton conducting polymer or ionomer. To overcome the challenges of high cost of Platinum catalyst and corrosion of carbon support, alternative materials for catalyst and catalyst support are being considered. The interaction of ionomer with catalyst and itsa support materials controls two factors that profoundly affects the CL Performance: the micro-scale structure of the CL and ionomer propoerties in the catalyst layer.

Hydrogen Storage in Two-Dimensional Layered Nanomaterials

The project will develop a revolutionary, conformable hydrogen storage tank solution for fuel cell electric vehicles. The specific objective of this research collaboration is to develop a hydrogen storage medium that is stable at ambient conditions, has a high gravimetric hydrogen storage capacity and can be packed into a fuel tank for use in vehicles. The research will focus on assessing the feasibility and development of two-dimensional layered nanostructures, such as graphene, as a viable material to store hydrogen.

Characterization of ionomer properties of the catalyst layers of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) Year Two

The state-of-the-art polymer electrolyte fuel cells have catalyst layers (CLs) made of Platinum catalyst on carbon support (Pt/C) bound together by proton-conducting polymer or ionomer. To overcome the challenges of high cost of Platinum catalyst ad corrosion of carbon support, alternative materials for catalyst and catalyst support are being considered. The interaction of ionomer with catalyst and its support materials controls two factors that profoundly affects the CL performance -(i) the micro-scale structure of the CL and (ii) ionomer properties in the catalyst layer.

Oscillation-based Fuel Cell Diagnostics

In this project, we propose two diagnostic tools that can identify dynamical processes in various fuel cell operating regimes, using the difference in the time constant of these processes. For example, conductive transport of electrons is faster than diffusive transport of gasses. We oscillate current and pressure at different frequencies, and measure the cell voltage. We use the amplitude ratio and phase different of these oscillations to detect dynamical processes in the fuel cells.

Qualification and Validation of Robust Functionality of a Test-Bench for Evaluation of GDL Properties under Series-Processing Conditions

In Early 2013, an NSERC Engage grant and a Coop term project enabled collaboration between Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. Fuel Cell Division (MBFC) and Dr. Merida’s group at the University of British Columbia (UBC). A test-bench apparatus for the evaluation of fuel cell material properties during manufacturing processes was designed. The present proposal builds on the previous activities and aims to make the test-bench apparatus available for material pre-qualification.

Demonstration and Performance Evaluation of an Optimized Lab-scale Biogas-fuelled Heat and Electric Power Generation System Based on the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

The build of an efficient, low cost, and environmentally friendly heat and power generation system for the use in single family detached dwellings, wastewater treatment plants, or landfills, is the objective of this project. This system is based on the solid oxide fuel cell and is designed to operate with biogas. We have successfully proved the advantages of this system over the traditional and other fuel cell-based systems developed in the United States and Europe, through computer simulation.

Alternative Hydrogen Sources For Portable Fuel Cells

In the current climate of environmental awareness the need for alternative energy sources is undeniable.  In this respect hydrogen gas is a frontrunner as a clean burning fuel, with water being the only by-product.  Coupled with a PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cell, hydrogen is a promising alternative to gasoline for automotive applications.  While significant progress has been made, this technology is still in its infancy.  A significant drawback in this technology lies in the storage and transportation of hydrogen within a vehicle.  To this end, our project focuses on the delive

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