Investigation of catalysts, diffusors, and collector plates and their effects on PEM fuel cell performance

Patryk Kamil Pich, University of Texas at El Paso


One of the challenges facing the modern world is an abundant and inexpensive energy source. The need to protect the environment and reduce the greenhouse effects is also a high priority. Fuel cells are one of the emerging technologies that could offer solutions to the world's energy needs. The proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell or polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell is a device that produces electricity from a simple reaction between oxygen and hydrogen gases. The benefits of employing these devices for energy needs include high efficiency, scalability, and virtually no pollution. In this study the performance of PEM fuel cells and its individual components was investigated. The catalyst material was studied by means of electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis. The effects of catalyst loading on PEM fuel performance was investigated and evaluated. In addition, a comparison of two distinct catalyst application methods was made. Finally, various diffuser materials were tested to evaluate their compatibility in the fuel cell environment and possible application in PEM fuel cell. This research is to pave the way for the UTEP fuel cell program. UTEP's goals include: development of a sulfur tolerant catalyst, improvement of the gas (fuel) flow through application of various diffusers, and modeling the dynamic response of the cell.

Subject Area

Metallurgy|Materials science|Energy

Recommended Citation

Pich, Patryk Kamil, "Investigation of catalysts, diffusors, and collector plates and their effects on PEM fuel cell performance" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1423734.