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In a previous blog post, we described bipolar plates and the associated materials for low-temperature fuel cells. The materials previously described are selected for fuel cell stacks at or slightly above room-temperature -- which means that the materials are chemically compatible with the stack between 0 – 140 °C. The fuel cells that operate at higher temperatures require...
In fuel cells, the flow field plates are designed to provide an adequate amount of the reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) to the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst surface while minimizing pressure drop. The most popular channel configurations for PEM fuel cells are serpentine, parallel, and...
Each component of the fuel cell must be designed properly – otherwise, you run the risk of decreasing fuel cell performance. The bipolar plates are termed “bipolar” because they have flow fields on both sides. This design is very convenient when you have membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) on both sides. In a fuel cell with a...
The design elements of a micro or MEMs fuel cell stack are the same as a larger fuel cell stack, except that there should be special considerations for...
The fuel cell electrode is a thin, catalyst layer where electrochemical reactions take place. The electrodes are usually made of a porous mixture of carbon-supported platinum and ionomer. To catalyze reactions, catalyst particles have contact to both protonic and electronic conductors. There also must be passages for...
The electrolyte layer is essential for a fuel cell to work properly. In low-temperature fuel cells, when the fuel in the fuel cell travels to the catalyst layer, the fuel molecule gets broken into protons (H+) and electrons. The electrons travel to the external circuit to power the load, and the hydrogen proton (ions) travel through the electrolyte until it reaches...
The gas diffusion layer is sandwiched between the catalyst layer and the bipolar plates as shown in Figure 1. The gas diffusion layer (GDL) provides electrical contact between electrodes and the bipolar plates and distribute reactants to the electrodes. The GDL also allows the water that is generated as a result of the chemical reaction to move between the electrodes and the ...
The fuel cell stack consists of many layers, including: The Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), Gaskets, Flow field plates, and End plates. There are two standard methods of assembling the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in low-temperature fuel cells. The catalyst layer can be applied in one or two steps. For the first method, there are five common ways to prepare and apply the catalyst for the GDL/catalyst assembly:
Hydrogen has many unusual characteristics compared with other elements. Some of these interesting and unusual characteristics include...Table 1 compares relevant properties of hydrogen, methane, methanol, ethanol, propane, and gasoline—all of which can be used as fuel for fuel cells.
Gas Diffusion Layers (GDL) are one of the components in different types of fuel cells including, but not limited, to Proton Exchange Membrane and Direct Methanol fuel cells. Gas Diffusion Layers serve to provide conductivity in the cell and control the contact between the reactant gases and the catalyst. This layer also aids in managing the water transport out of the membrane. Another essential function of a GDL is to provide a connection between the membrane electrode assembly and graphite plates in the fuel cell stack.