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

Lettenmeier, Philipp and Kolb, Svenja and Sata, Noriko and Fallisch, Arne and Zielke, Lukas and Thiele, Simon and Gago, Aldo-Saul and Friedrich, K.-Andreas (2017) Comprehensive investigation of novel pore-graded gas diffusion layers for high-performance and costeffective proton exchange membrane electrolyzers. Energy and Environmental Science. Royal Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1039/c7ee01240c ISSN 1754-5692

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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 mm 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 mm. 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.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/116361/
Document Type:Article
Title:Comprehensive investigation of novel pore-graded gas diffusion layers for high-performance and costeffective proton exchange membrane electrolyzers
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Lettenmeier, PhilippPhilipp.Lettenmeier (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2822-8440
Kolb, SvenjaSvenja.Kolb (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Sata, Norikonoriko.sata (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Fallisch, ArneFraunhofer InstitutUNSPECIFIED
Zielke, LukasInstitut für MikrosystemtechnikUNSPECIFIED
Thiele, SimonSimon.Thiele (at) imtek.uni-freiburg.deUNSPECIFIED
Gago, Aldo-SaulAldo.Gago (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Friedrich, K.-Andreasandreas.friedrich (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:24 July 2017
Journal or Publication Title:Energy and Environmental Science
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1039/c7ee01240c
Publisher:Royal Chemical Society
ISSN:1754-5692
Status:Published
Keywords:degradation, PEM-electrolyzer, PEM-electrolysis system
HGF - Research field:Energy
HGF - Program:Storage and Cross-linked Infrastructures
HGF - Program Themes:Electrolysis and Hydrogen
DLR - Research area:Energy
DLR - Program:E SP - Energy Storage
DLR - Research theme (Project):E - Elektrochemical Processes (Electrolysis)
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics > Electrochemical Energy Technology
Deposited By: Stiber, Svenja
Deposited On:15 Dec 2017 08:53
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:24

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