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Title: Additive manufactured bipolar plate for high-efficiency hydrogen production in proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells

Abstract

Additive manufacturing (AM) technology is capable of fast and low-cost prototyping from complex 3D digital models. To take advantage of this technology, a stainless steel (SS) plate with parallel flow field served as a combination of a cathode bipolar plate and a current distributor; it was fabricated using selective laser melting (SLM) techniques and investigated in a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC) in-situ for the first time. The experimental results show that the PEMEC with an AM SS cathode bipolar plate can achieve an excellent performance for hydrogen production for a voltage of 1.779 V and a current density of 2.0 A/cm 2. The AM SS cathode bipolar plate was also characterized by SEM and EDS, and the results show a uniform elemental distribution across the plate with very limited oxidization. As a result, this research demonstrates that AM method could be a route to aid cost-effective and rapid development of PEMECs.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Advanced Manufacturing Office (EE-5A)
OSTI Identifier:
1361233
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396509
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-4A00-68481
Journal ID: ISSN 0360-3199
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 0360-3199
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; additive manufacturing; bipolar plate; PEM electrolyzer cell; hydrogen production; stainless steel; selective laser melting

Citation Formats

Yang, Gaoqiang, Mo, Jingke, Kang, Zhenye, List, III, Frederick A., Green, Jr., Johney B., Babu, Sudarsanam S., and Zhang, Feng -Yuan. Additive manufactured bipolar plate for high-efficiency hydrogen production in proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.04.100.
Yang, Gaoqiang, Mo, Jingke, Kang, Zhenye, List, III, Frederick A., Green, Jr., Johney B., Babu, Sudarsanam S., & Zhang, Feng -Yuan. Additive manufactured bipolar plate for high-efficiency hydrogen production in proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells. United States. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.04.100.
Yang, Gaoqiang, Mo, Jingke, Kang, Zhenye, List, III, Frederick A., Green, Jr., Johney B., Babu, Sudarsanam S., and Zhang, Feng -Yuan. Sat . "Additive manufactured bipolar plate for high-efficiency hydrogen production in proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells". United States. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.04.100. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1361233.
@article{osti_1361233,
title = {Additive manufactured bipolar plate for high-efficiency hydrogen production in proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells},
author = {Yang, Gaoqiang and Mo, Jingke and Kang, Zhenye and List, III, Frederick A. and Green, Jr., Johney B. and Babu, Sudarsanam S. and Zhang, Feng -Yuan},
abstractNote = {Additive manufacturing (AM) technology is capable of fast and low-cost prototyping from complex 3D digital models. To take advantage of this technology, a stainless steel (SS) plate with parallel flow field served as a combination of a cathode bipolar plate and a current distributor; it was fabricated using selective laser melting (SLM) techniques and investigated in a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC) in-situ for the first time. The experimental results show that the PEMEC with an AM SS cathode bipolar plate can achieve an excellent performance for hydrogen production for a voltage of 1.779 V and a current density of 2.0 A/cm2. The AM SS cathode bipolar plate was also characterized by SEM and EDS, and the results show a uniform elemental distribution across the plate with very limited oxidization. As a result, this research demonstrates that AM method could be a route to aid cost-effective and rapid development of PEMECs.},
doi = {10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.04.100},
journal = {International Journal of Hydrogen Energy},
number = 21,
volume = 42,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sat May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
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Cited by: 7works
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  • We present that a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC) is one of the most promising devices for high-efficiency and low-cost energy storage and ultrahigh purity hydrogen production. As one of the critical components in PEMECs, the titanium thin/tunable LGDL (TT-LGDL) with its advantages of small thickness, planar surface, straight-through pores, and well-controlled pore morphologies, achieved superior multifunctional performance for hydrogen and oxygen production from water splitting even at low temperature. Different thin film surface treatments on the novel TT-LGDLs for enhancing the interfacial contacts and PEMEC performance were investigated both in-situ and ex-situ for the first time. Surface modifiedmore » TT-LGDLs with about 180 nm thick Au thin film yielded performance improvement (voltage reduction), from 1.6849 V with untreated TT-LGDLs to only 1.6328 V with treated TT-LGDLs at 2.0 A/cm 2 and 80°C. Furthermore, the hydrogen/oxygen production rate was increased by about 28.2% at 1.60 V and 80°C. The durability test demonstrated that the surface treated TT-LGDL has good stability as well. Finally, the gold electroplating surface treatment is a promising method for the PEMEC performance enhancement and titanium material protection even in harsh environment.« less
  • Proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells (PEMECs) have received great attention for hydrogen/oxygen production due to their high efficiencies even at low-temperature operation. Because of the high cost of noble platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts (Ir, Ru, Pt, etc.) that are widely used in water splitting, a PEMEC with low catalyst loadings and high catalyst utilizations is strongly desired for its wide commercialization. In this study, the ultrafast and multiscale hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) phenomena in an operating PEMEC is in-situ observed for the first time. The visualization results reveal that the HER and hydrogen bubble nucleation mainly occur on catalyst layersmore » at the rim of the pores of the thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers (TT-LGDLs). This indicates that the catalyst material of the conventional catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) that is located in the middle area of the LGDL pore is underutilized/inactive. Based on this discovery, a novel thin and tunable gas diffusion electrode (GDE) with a Pt catalyst thickness of 15 nm and a total thickness of about 25 um has been proposed and developed by taking advantage of advanced micro/nano manufacturing. The novel thin GDEs are comprehensively characterized both ex-situ and in-situ, and exhibit excellent PEMEC performance. More importantly, they achieve catalyst mass activity of up to 58 times higher than conventional CCM at 1.6 V under the operating conditions of 80 degrees C and 1 atm. This study demonstrates a promising concept for PEMEC electrode development, and provides a direction of future catalyst designs and fabrications for electrochemical devices.« less
  • Proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells (PEMECs) have received great attention for hydrogen/oxygen production due to their high efficiencies even at low-temperature operation. Because of the high cost of noble platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts (Ir, Ru, Pt, etc.) that are widely used in water splitting, a PEMEC with low catalyst loadings and high catalyst utilizations is strongly desired for its wide commercialization. In this study, the ultrafast and multiscale hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) phenomena in an operating PEMEC is in-situ observed for the first time. The visualization results reveal that the HER and hydrogen bubble nucleation mainly occur on catalyst layersmore » at the rim of the pores of the thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers (TT-LGDLs). This indicates that the catalyst material of the conventional catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) that is located in the middle area of the LGDL pore is underutilized/inactive. Based on this discovery, a novel thin and tunable gas diffusion electrode (GDE) with a Pt catalyst thickness of 15 nm and a total thickness of about 25 um has been proposed and developed by taking advantage of advanced micro/nano manufacturing. The novel thin GDEs are comprehensively characterized both ex-situ and in-situ, and exhibit excellent PEMEC performance. More importantly, they achieve catalyst mass activity of up to 58 times higher than conventional CCM at 1.6 V under the operating conditions of 80 degrees C and 1 atm. This study demonstrates a promising concept for PEMEC electrode development, and provides a direction of future catalyst designs and fabrications for electrochemical devices.« less