HYPOSTRUCT: A key breakthrough in hydrogen fuel cells: enhancing macroscopic mass transport properties by tailoring the porous microstructure

Given their high conversion efficiency and zero-emission characteristics, hydrogen fuel cells are extremely attractive for replacing current energy conversion and power generation technologies. Nevertheless, they still need significant technological improvements in order to increase their competitiveness in the mobility and energy conversion market. More to the point, nowadays, the increase of the effective gas-liquid mass transport in the porous electrodes is highly demanded to improve cell performances.
The present proposal aims to investigate and improve the transport properties of two phase flows in hydrogen fuel cells porous materials with an innovative bottom-up approach: tailoring the porous microstructure in order to achieve the desired macroscopic feature, i.e. enhancing liquid water removal and promoting gas transport. The pore geometrical microscopic features (size, form, anisotropic structure) and the chemical behaviour of the pores surface (hydro -philic-phobic features) will be tuned and their effect on water imbibition, drainage and spatial and temporal distribution will be investigated by means of numerical simulations. An advancement in fuel cells technology is expected by characterising the optimal design of the porous electrodes which will significantly increase cells performances and open up a route for a new generation of fuel cells.

Start date 09/01/2019
End date 08/01/2021

Published: Wed 05 Feb 2020.