Fuel cells:

Fuel cells

  • Characterisation of the porous media used in PEM fuel cells

    Improvement of the efficiency of PEM fuel cells through the use of appropriate sealing means

    Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

    Fuel cells are very strong competitors to the conventional energy conversion technologies which are responsible for the emission of the greenhouse gases. The most prominent type of fuel cells are proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. PEM fuel cells must be well-sealed in order to perform reliably and prevent the leakage of hydrogen. Typically, gaskets are used to seal the PEM fuel cells, though they must be selected with great care. The selection of the inappropriate sealing gasket may lead to a serious decline in the performance of the fuel cell. In most cases, this is due to the poor electrical contact between the electrodes and the current collectors of the fuel cell. One of the main objectives of this project is to theoretically and experimentally optimise the parameters that affect the contact between the electrode and the current collector in PEM fuel cells, most importantly the thickness and the stiffness of both the electrode and sealing gasket.

  • Characterisation of the porous media used in PEM fuel cells

    Molecular modelling and experimental Investigation of the oxygen reduction reaction in PEM fuel cells.

    Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

    Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are of great promise for future energy production systems, encompassing large scale down to portable power source applications, with the promise of high efficiency and minimal pollutant emission. A major drawback is the cost of production, dominated by the quantity of an expensive platinum catalyst required for the oxygen reduction reaction. Recent research indicates promising replacement catalysts based on non-metal carbon compounds doped with a variety of elements (for example nitrogen, sulphur, selenium). This project will involve the use of the Gaussian 09 program to perform detailed electronic structure modelling of candidate systems to assess their efficacy and investigate the detailed mechanism of these oxygen reduction reactions. In addition, we will synthesise promising candidates and test their performance in our experimental fuel cell test facilities, where we have the equipment to manufacture and test our own PEM fuel cells.

  • Characterisation of the porous media used in PEM fuel cells

    Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology

    Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham and Dr Kevin Hughes

    Fuel cells have been considered as one of the promising technologies for the next generation energy production systems, because of their high energy efficiency and low pollutant emission. However, fuel cell technology is still in its early stage of development. Many scientifically challenging problems have to be solved in order to make it cost effective and thus commercially viable. In this project, an experimental investigation into the performance of different designs of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) will be undertaken; this will involve the manufacture and testing of different PEMFC designs, along with the manufacture and testing of novel non-metal based catalysts to replace the use of Platinum, a major cost component of current PEMFCs.