Green Wet-Laying Process to Produce Fuel Cell Electrodes
With the growing cost of oil and concern about global warming, people are interested in cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle engines powered by bio-fuels or hydrogen, or by alternative energy technologies such as fuel cells.
Among others polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell attributes advantages such as high power density, quick start-up time, pollution free operation and all solid-compact construction especially for portable applications. Even the PEM fuel cell is a green alternative energy production system, the production process of its components still remains as a question mark.
Aqueous polymers are promising green candi-dates as new binder or additive for any electro-chemical cell electrode. In particular, natural cel-lulose, the most abundant renewable material, is intrinsically greener than any industrially synthe-sized polymer. In this work, natural cellulose, dissolved in fully recyclable ionic liquids, is used as the binder in the PEM fuel cell electrode.
In this study, wet-laying process, mostly used in pulp and paper-textile industry, is used to pro-duce gas diffusion electrodes for PEM fuel cell from aqueous fiber dispersions. Wet laid carbon fiber based and carbon fiber-cellulose based electrically conducting electrode structures can be prepared in a flexible form and in excellent uniformity to enhance especially cathode electrode performance to improve the lifetime and efficiency of PEM fuel cell. Cellulose is going to be removed by phase inversion process from the electrode structure. As a result, electrodes can be manufactured without the need of polluting volatile organic compounds for greener and environmentally friendly electrode structure.
The work is supported by the Project Grants:
- Fabrication and Characterization of High Quality Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells, 2013-2015, supported by SANTEZ (PI: S.Alkan Gürsel
- Development of Graphene based High Quality Gas Diffusion Electrodes for PEM Fuel Cells, 2014-2017, supported by TUBITAK 1003 Program (PI: L. Işıkel Şanlı, Selmiye Alkan Gürsel