Additive manufactured porous transport layers and bipolar plates for proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells

Polymer electrolyte water electrolyzer (PEWE) cells can efficiently produce hydrogen from water and excess renewable electricity by means of an electrochemical reaction, thereby providing a potential solution for long-term energy storage. A PEWE cell is composed of two bipolar plates (BP), two porous transport layers (PTLs), and a membrane electrode assembly (MEA). T06-P04 is already developing better performing MEAs; however, the development of BP and PTLs is outside of the scope of the project even though they account for 40% of the cost of the cell. This project aims to use additive manufacturing (AM) to improve, design, and manufacture BP and PTLs using biomemetic porous 3D printing for improved performance.

The project will design and fabricate porous transport layers (PTLs) and bipolar plates (BP) using selective laser melting additive manufacturing (SLM-AM). PTLs with varying porosity and pore size will be manufactured by SLM-AM, characterized ex-situ by porosimetry and electrical conductivity, and in-situ in PEWE cell with MEAs from T06-P04. Titanium powder will be used as it can withstand the corrosive environments in PEWE. BPs with a variety of channel geometries will also be manufactured.