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Next-Generation Polymer-Electrolyte-Membrane Fuel Cells Using Titanium Foam as Gas Diffusion Layer

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journal contribution
posted on 28.05.2014, 00:00 by Hyelim Choi, Ok-Hee Kim, Minhyoung Kim, Heeman Choe, Yong-Hun Cho, Yung-Eun Sung
In spite of their high conversion efficiency and no emission of greenhouse gases, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) suffer from prohibitively high cost and insufficient life-span of their core component system, the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). In this paper, we are proposing Ti foam as a promising alternative electrode material in the MEA. Indeed, it showed a current density of 462 mA cm–2, being ca. 166% higher than that with the baseline Toray 060 gas diffusion layer (GDL) (278 mA cm–2) with 200 ccm oxygen supply at 0.7 V, when used as the anode GDL, because of its unique three-dimensional strut structure promoting highly efficient catalytic reactions. Furthermore, it exhibits superior corrosion resistance with almost no thickness and weight changes in the accelerated corrosion test, as opposed to considerable reductions in the weight and thickness of the conventional GDL. We believe that this paper suggests profound implications in the commercialization of PEMFCs, because the metallic Ti foam provides a longer-term reliability and chemical stability, which can reduce the loss of Pt catalyst and, hence, the cost of PEMFCs.