PEM Hydrogen Fuel Cells Research Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1442 Words
Date:  2022-10-23

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

The PEM fuel cells are one of the leading alternatives of the hydroelectric power in the current electrical technology. The PEMFC is electrochemical components that perform direct chemical energy conversion of the fuel and oxidant, reactants, into low direct current electricity as well as heat. The increased attention in the recent past is attributed to the high energy efficiency, power density, and environmental friendliness. It uses a polymer membrane that is water-based and acidic as the production electrolyte combined with platinum-based electrodes. Under optimum temperature of below 1000C it can give a desirable output to meet the changing power requirements (Kongkanand et al., 2016).

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Since these electrodes are made of precious metals and the low-temperature necessities; it is expected that the system operates on pure hydrogen gas. The cells are currently the primary technology used in materials-handling automobiles and light-duty vehicles as well as stationery (Cogenli et al., 2015). The fact that impedes their capacity to serve as a viable source of power is the costly manufacturing of some essential components such as solid polymer electrolyte membrane (SPE), bipolar plates, and catalyst layers.

The hydrogen fuel gets generated at the anode after his separation of the electrons from the protons on the surface of the platinum-based catalyst. The protons then penetrate the membrane to the cathode end of the fuel cell whereas the electrons move in the external circuit hence producing an electrical output. On the cathode electrode, the electrons and protons get combined to generate water that is emitted as the only by-product; oxygen can be released or extracted from the air at the electrode directly (Ghanbarian & Kermani, 2016).

The fuel I regarded a promising sustainable and economical alternative power source since it produces less or no pollutant emissions depending on the fuel utilized. The technology also appreciates the use of the nanoparticles to enhance the creation of a reliable and friendly operation environment. The leading reason for the efficiency associated with PEMFCs is the capacity of the technique to alter hydrogen's physical property. It gives the PEMFC cells an advantage over other commercial fuel cells due to the following features durability, green emissions, high current capacity, and less cost. However, there is need to improve on the efficiency of energy conversion by replacing the platinum particles with gold and silver to enhance commercial consumption in terms of cost-effectiveness and competence of operation (Devrim & Albostan, 2015).

1.2 Conventional Bipolar materials

The bipolar material is widely categorized as carbon-based and the metallic; initially the carbon graphite plates due to the associated high density dominated applications such as the R&D. The electrical and chemical properties of graphite proved to be excellent for application in the harsh PEMFC operating environment. However, the use was only limited to laboratory and stationery set-ups in which low volume and lightweight plates were not essential (Fu et al., 2017). Also, the high machining gas expenses, as well as the inherent brittleness of the material, hindered its application in terrestrial environments such as transportation and mobile fields.

Due to these shortcomings, the metallic bipolar plates were adopted by the scientific fraternity as a possible solution. Apart from the electrical, thermal, and design advantages; it is also associated with reliable mechanical features. They possess unique mechanical features that permit for thin plates' fabrication. The world is shifting focus to the application of noble metals such as titanium, steel, and aluminum to aid in the fabrication of plates to withstand the corrosive environment. They have excellent mechanical characteristics and low rates of gas permeation hence assuring of stability of the environment of the PEM fuel cell with a common low pH (Dicks & Rand, 2018).

Even though metal might exhibit desirable characteristics like electrical and thermal conductivity, decreased the permeability of gas, and simplicity in manufacturing as well as a comparatively lower cost; it also has limitations such as chemical instability caused by corrosion. The formation of an oxide layer on the metal surface due to the corrosive nature of the PEMFC environment poisons the polymer electrodes and also releases the byproducts on the catalyst layer (Daud et al., 2017).

The accumulation of the corrosion products would increase the interfacial contact resistance between the electrode plates and the layers meant for gas diffusion leading to poor fuel cell output. Some processes have been proposed as the ideal solutions to reduce the contact and corrosion resistance of the bipolar plates; specifically through surface modification methods. The thickness of the metals has to be minimized to reduce the density and use of metal composites in the fabrication of the bipolar plates. Increased power output was evident when the gas channels depicted low wettability (Devrim & Albostan, 2015).

1.3 Synthesize of Nano-particles

In recent times, the nano-materials have attracted considerable attention due to its enhancement of the energy effectiveness and efficiency in various ways. The physical constituents of the PEM fuel cells get altered thus forming an improved and conducive platform to create a high and robust current as well as cost-effectiveness of the cell. Implementation of this technology leads to the regenerative generation of wind energy, photovoltaics, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass; which can be changed into different power like the thermoelectric, gas turbines, hydrogen production, and fuel cells. Since in most electronic devices, the energy production is achieved through the split of the hydrogen particles; it serves the purpose of a catalyst in fuel cells generation. Given these PEMFCs can function with metals like Silver and Gold, it is much simpler to establish an affordable and robust cell in a controlled surrounding like the study laboratories (Dicks & Rand, 2018). In addition to the cost advantages, the other significant reasons facilitating the utilization of silver and gold is their durability and enhanced electrolysis properties.

The nanomaterials exhibit unique catalytic, photonic, electronic, and therapeutic characteristics; which hassled to the increased application in diagnostic imaging, biosensing, and cancer screening. Their large surface area, as well as reliable electrical conductivity, makes them fit for utilization in the biomedical and biotechnology field. Manipulation of the parameters determining the interaction of the nanomaterials with biological cells; for instance, improvement of retention and permeability are vital features of the particles facilitating its accumulation and interaction with the cells in the body (Daud et al., 2017). The Gold nanoparticles get synthesized through various methods, namely: ablation and electrochemistry.

The PEMFC uses the electrochemical approach to synthesize due to the fabrication ease and improved sensitivity as well as surface modification. Ablation is appropriate in ensuring surface immobilization to serve as the conductor and enhance the transfer of electrons between the surfaces of nanoparticles as well as the targeted analyte. The involved structural design allows the surfaces coating with different agents and also has biocompatible and non-toxic properties (Devrim & Albostan, 2015). They have ideal chemical, optical, and physical characteristics that can be used in very many innovative procedures to monitor a drug delivery system as well as other applications such as catalysis. On the other hand, Silver nanoparticles ha several functions owing to its extensive degree of commercialization supported by its distinctive features like chemical stability, good conductivity, antimicrobial activity, and catalytic processes. The synthesis of these materials is based on parameters such as the pH, redox agents, and temperature and they are controlled through the optimization of the factors.

Chapter 2 Design

2.1 PEM fuel cell layout and Operation

The structure of the PEM fuel cell is composed of two primary components, which includes the bipolar plates and the diffusion layers. The performance of the cell requires a fuel source and an oxidant to oxidize the fuel input at the anode leading to dissociation of the hydrogen particles diffused in the reaction catalyst into electrons and protons. The protons penetrate the membrane whereas the electrons get forced to get transmitted through the circuit cathode. The electrons and protons interact with the oxidant in an oxidation reaction thus resulting in the generation of heat and water. In this design, the fuel cell is modeled using relatively cheaper synthesizing components particularly Gold and Silver (Cogenli et al., 2015). The chief factors considered in the development of the PEMFC include the production cost and durability of the membrane and electrodes. The operating principle of the fuel cell is based on several parameters that influence the efficiency of the components. The cell posses two electrodes; the anode and cathode (Ding et al., 2004). The anode electrode gets supplied with the electrolyte externally while the cathode gets eternal supply of the oxidant.

The electrolyte plays the role of separating the electrodes and facilitates the flow of ions, but to achieve optimum results, there is a need to use efficient electrocatalysts. The assembly of the PEMFC uses an immobilized acid to position...

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PEM Hydrogen Fuel Cells Research Paper Example. (2022, Oct 23). Retrieved from

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