Inma Giménez Garcia

Novel thin-film coatings for next-generation polymer electrolyte fuel cells

As the world population keeps increasing at an exponential rate, there is a need to decouple economic growth from carbon emissions. Transitioning to a hydrogen-based economy can enable a sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy system, while facilitating implementation of renewable energies technologies -such as solar or wind power. Central to this concept, polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) are electrochemical devices that convert hydrogen’s chemical energy into electrical energy, suitable for both stationary and mobile applications, with high power density and lack of pollutant production. Although there exist functional commercial systems, widespread deployment is hindered by their elevated costs. These arise from the ill-controlled chemical and morphological characteristics of the electrochemical internal interfaces, which lower their efficiency.

To improve their economic viability and facilitate their industrial implementation, we require fundamental research to improve PEFC durability and efficiency, especially at higher current densities. One of the main sources of such inefficiencies is poor mass transport phenomena at the catalytic layer. The catalytic layer is made of a conductive carbon support, the electrocatalytic particles, and the ionomer. Ionomer distribution, composition, and morphology plays a determining role in proton conductivity, species transport and catalyst utilization The goal of this research is to develop novel ionomer materials with tailored functional properties, thickness and surface topology.

Contact details

Name: Inma Giménez Garcia
Country of origin: Spain
Room: STO 0.47
TU/e phone: +31 40 247 5166