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Use of Porous Metallic Membranes as Gas Diffusion Layers in Fuel Cells

Sectors:
Objective:
Technology:

The use of porous metallic membranes as gas diffusion layers in fuel cells provide several solutions to the current problems facing gas diffusion layers in fuel cells including the long-term requirements for fuel cell performance durability and cost. The recent developments of self-assembled monolayer (or SAM) on metal surfaces provides the promise of surface treatment to meet the needs in fuel cells. These self-assembled monolayers are very resilient and can be easily formed. SAM can strongly bond with metal atoms of the solid surfaces permitting good adherence of the molecule to the surface. Therefore they are very stable with long lifetimes. In addition they prevent metal from corrosion/erosion. Because the self-assembled monolayers have thickness of the order of 10 angstroms they present negligible resistance to thermal and electronic conductions and do not alter other characteristics of the substrate. The hydrophobicity and hydrophobicity of the substrate surface can be precisely controlled by carefully selecting SAM group to improve water transport in the fuel cell. The novel methods of the present invention provide for controlling size and distribution of GDL pores over the design which allow for a straight or independent (i.e. non-overlapping) pore configuration in the nanoporous gas diffusion media of the invention. This overcomes one other notable problem of the currently available carbon fiber GDLs and their production which is variability in efficiency due to their random and unpredictable pore size and distribution. Thus the methods of the invention provide for the first time for the production of GDLs that are highly consistent in their gas diffusion characteristics. In addition to the advantages listed above the uniformity by which nanoporous GDLs can be constructed according to the present invention now allows for more accurate simulation modeling and testing which can greatly reduce development costs of new electrochemical and gas diffusion technologies such as for example fuel cells and biomedical devices. Applications: Fuel cells

Benefits:

1) This overcomes one other notable problem of the currently available carbon fiber GDLs and their production which is variability in efficiency due to their random and unpredictable pore size and distribution. 2) The uniformity by which nanoporous GDLs can be constructed according to the present invention now allows for more accurate simulation modeling and testing which can greatly reduce development costs of new electrochemical and gas diffusion technologies such as for example fuel cells and biomedical devices. 3) The novel methods of the present invention provide for controlling pore size pore shape and pore distribution of over the design which allow for a straight or independent (i.e. non- overlapping) pore configuration in the micro/nanoporous gas diffusion media of the invention. This overcomes one other notable problem of the currently available carbon fiber GDLs and their production which is variability in efficiency due to their random and unpredictable pore size and distribution. Thus the...

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