Optical determination of membrane defects and correlation with fuel cell performance and durability - Year two

There is a strong push toward producing fuel cells on a commercial scale. This means a greater focus on production speed and yields with a need to understand the unintended features that arise from larger-scale manufacturing processes. This project requires the set up of state-of-the-art, camera-vision, defect detection equipment to find and collect observed membrane features. These features will then be catalogued and tested to determine their impact on membrane durability and whether they affect later processing steps.

Development of Ex-situ Mechanical Durability Tools and Thermo-mechanical Design Curves for Fuel Cell Membranes - Year two

Hydrogen powered polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are a clean energy technology that generates electricity without harmful emissions at the point of use. Current R&D efforts mainly target to commercialize PEMFCs through cost reduction and durability enhancement. The lifetime of PEMFC is limited by the degradation and failure of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). The proposed research project addresses the mechanical degradation mechanism, a key factor reducing the lifetime of PEMs, by developing in-house ex-situ mechanical durability evaluation tools.

Determination of active surface area and gas permeability of fuel cell catalyst layers

Within a hydrogen fuel cell, the cathode catalyst layer (CCL) is generally considered a limiting component in overall performance due to sluggish oxygen reduction reaction kinetics. The proposed internship is comprised of two projects, each characterizing the materials used in the CCL.

Optimization and validation of carbon nanofiber catalyst supports in fuel cell stack

Motivated by the urgent need for clean and sustainable source of energy we propose to develop structurally and chemically controllable fuel cell catalyst layers based on ultrafine nanocomposite carbon fibre catalyst support. Manufacturing parameters will be controlled and optimized to investigate the effect of microstructure on key performance factors. Ultimately, the knowledge gained from this study will pave the way to building more efficient fuel cells. Current phase of the project involves validating our design by in-situ testing.

Synchrotron investigation of water distribution in fuel cells and correlation to properties and performance

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into electrical power through an electrochemical reaction, producing water and heat. These fuel cells have been considered for automotive powertrain applications. In this proposed work, a set of varying PEMFC materials will be investigated to advance the performance of PEM fuel cells. The fuel cells will be run under a wide range of operating conditions, including temperature, pressure, inlet gas relative humidity as well as compression pressure.

Development of fabrication, microstructure and performance relationships in inkjet printed polymer electrolyte fuel cell electrodes for automotive applications

Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) running on hydrogen are a preferred choice for on-board electricity generation in automobiles. A major challenge associated with this technology is its high cost due to the use of platinum as electrocatalyst. Implementation of inkjet printing as a fabrication tool has been investigated by the applicant and the academic supervisor to fabricate and test PEFC electrodes that are 5 times thinner and contain 15 times lower platinum than conventional electrodes resulting in an improved catalyst utilization.

Optical determination of membrane defects and correlation with fuel cell performance and durability

There is a strong push toward producing fuel cells on a commercial scale. This means a greater focus on production speed and yields with a need to understand the unintended features that arise from larger-scale manufacturing processes. This project requires the set up of state-of-the-art, camera-vision, defect detection equipment to find and collect observed membrane features. These features will then be catalogued and tested to determine their impact on membrane durability and whether they affect later processing steps.

Development of Ex-situ Mechanical Durability Tools and Thermo-mechanical Design Curves for Fuel Cell Membranes

Hydrogen powered polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are a clean energy technology that generates electricity without harmful emissions at the point of use. Current R&D efforts mainly target to commercialize PEMFCs through cost reduction and durability enhancement. The lifetime of PEMFC is limited by the degradation and failure of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM). The proposed research project addresses the mechanical degradation mechanism, a key factor reducing the lifetime of PEMs, by developing in-house ex-situ mechanical durability evaluation tools.

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.

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.

Pages