Development of High performance and Durable Catalyst Layers for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells by Focusing on Ionic Phase
Proton exchange membrane fuel cell is in the early stage of commercialization and mass production lies in the cost reduction, increase performance and durability. All of these three challenges interrelated together and mainly related to the proper design for catalyst layer. The proposed research project aims at developing novel catalyst layers structure for dry/low relative humidity operational conditions by focusing on ionic phase of catalyst layers. Catalyst layer is a complex three-phase system include catalyst, catalyst support and ionomer which is responsible for the simultaneous transport of the reactants, products, and charged species, including both electrons and protons. This research proposal will focus on the impact of different ionomer types, ratio and design in catalyst layers on cell performance and durability as ionomer affects the ionic conductivity, catalyst utilization, mass transport, and binding materials, and the amount of ionomer applied can be critical to cell performance and durability.