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Title: Thin liquid/gas diffusion layers for high-efficiency hydrogen production from water splitting

Liquid/gas diffusion layers (LGDLs) play a crucial role in electrochemical energy technology and hydrogen production, and are expected to simultaneously transport electrons, heat, and reactants/products with minimum voltage, current, thermal, interfacial, and fluidic losses. In addition, carbon materials, which are typically used in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), are unsuitable for PEM electrolyzer cells (PEMECs). In this study, a novel titanium thin LGDL with well-tunable pore morphologies was developed by employing nano-manufacturing and was applied in a standard PEMEC. The LGDL tests show significant performance improvements. The operating voltages required at a current density of 2.0 A/cm 2 were as low as 1.69 V, and its efficiency reached a report high of up to 88%. The new thin and flat LGDL with well-tunable straight pores has been demonstrated to remarkably reduce the ohmic, interfacial and transport losses. In addition, well-tunable features, including pore size, pore shape, pore distribution, and thus porosity and permeability, will be very valuable for developing PEMEC models and for validation of its simulations with optimal and repeatable performance. The LGDL thickness reduction from greater than 350 μm of conventional LGDLs to 25 μm will greatly decrease the weight and volume of PEMEC stacks, and representsmore » a new direction for future developments of low-cost PEMECs with high performance.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee Space Inst. (UTSI), Tullahoma, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; FE0011585
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 177; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center (FEERC); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). National Transportation Research Center (NTRC)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
08 HYDROGEN; proton exchange membrane fuel cells/ electrolyzer cells; liquid/gas diffusion layers; hydrogen production; water splitting; performance and efficiency
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1328497