Jasna Jankovic, Darija Susac, Viatcheslav Berejnov, Madhu Sudan Saha, Mickey Tam, Juergen Stumper
Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corp. (AFCC), 9000 Glenlyon Parkway, Burnaby, B.C., V5J 5J8, CANADA
Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) are being considered as one of the most promising solutions for zero emission transportation. Fuel cells in general convert chemical energy of a fuel (typically hydrogen) and oxidant (air or oxygen) into useful electricity via electro-chemical reactions, producing only water as a byproduct. The reactions happen in the heart of the fuel cell – the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), consisted of two porous electrodes and a proton exchange polymer membrane between them. Conventional electrodes are typically 2-15 micron thin layers that contain pores for gas and water transport, Pt catalyst for enhancing the reaction, carbon black as catalyst support and electron transport medium, and ionomer covering Pt/C agglomerates as a binder and proton-conducting medium. Efficiency of a fuel cell very much depends on the microstructure and distribution of all the components in the electrode catalyst layer.
Understanding the catalyst layer microstructure and its effects on performance, as well as its design and prototyping is in the focus of our research. At AFCC, we have been developing novel and advanced methods for PEMFC catalyst layer characterization and imaging. In addition, in collaboration with UBC and SFU, we have been developing advanced prototyping of structurally controlled catalyst layers. This talk will summarize some of our material characterization and prototyping methods.