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      Comprehensive investigation of novel pore-graded gas diffusion layers for high-performance and cost-effective proton exchange membrane electrolyzers

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          Abstract

          Innovative approach for producing GDLs of PEM electrolyzers enabling a significant reduction in the manufacturing cost and facilitating higher performance than from the state of the art.

          Abstract

          Hydrogen produced by water electrolysis is a promising storage medium for renewable energy. Reducing the capital cost of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers without losing efficiency is one of its most pressing challenges. Gas diffusion layers (GDL), such as felts, foams, meshes and sintered plates, are key stack components, but these are either inefficient or expensive. This study presents a new type of GDL produced via vacuum plasma spraying (VPS), which offers a large potential for cost reduction. With this technology, it is possible to introduce a gradient in the pore-size distribution along the thickness of the GDL by varying the plasma parameters and titanium powder particle sizes. This feature was confirmed by cross-section scanning electron microscopy (SEM). X-ray computed tomography (CT) and mercury intrusion porosimetry allowed determining the porosity, pore radii distribution, and pore entry distribution. Pore radii of ca. 10 μm could be achieved in the layers of the GDL close to the bipolar plate, while those in contact with the electrodes were in the range of 5 μm. The thermally sprayed Ti-GDLs allowed achieving PEM electrolyzer performances comparable to those of the state-of-the-art sintered plates and far superior than those of meshes. Moreover, a numerical model showed that the reduced capillary pressure and tortuosity eliminates mass transport limitations at 2 A cm −2. The results presented herein demonstrate a promising solution to reduce the cost of one of the most expensive components of the stack.

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          Most cited references49

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          A comprehensive review on PEM water electrolysis

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            Electrocatalytic Oxygen Evolution Reaction (OER) on Ru, Ir, and Pt Catalysts: A Comparative Study of Nanoparticles and Bulk Materials

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              Comparison of Modeling Predictions with Experimental Data from Plastic Lithium Ion Cells

              Marc Doyle (1996)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                EESNBY
                Energy & Environmental Science
                Energy Environ. Sci.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                1754-5692
                1754-5706
                2017
                2017
                : 10
                : 12
                : 2521-2533
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics
                [2 ]German Aerospace Center
                [3 ]Stuttgart
                [4 ]Germany
                [5 ]Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE Heidenhofstrasse 2
                [6 ]Freiburg
                [7 ]Laboratory for MEMS Applications
                [8 ]IMTEK Department of Microsystems Engineering
                [9 ]University of Freiburg
                [10 ]Georges-Koehler-Allee 103
                [11 ]79110 Freiburg
                [12 ]Institute for Energy Storage
                Article
                10.1039/C7EE01240C
                f67681c4-84c9-41b0-9cba-629aa1ded4ec
                © 2017

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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