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The Role of Nanotechnology in Improving the Performance of PEM Fuel Cell in Future Automotive Applications

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Nanotechnology is used to enhance substance behavior by altering physical properties. Fuel cells with Nano-structured components have green emissions, longer durability, and higher current density with less cost compared with regular commercial fuel cells.

Trying to utilize this fact, a research experiment was designed to replace Pt particles in the PEM fuel cell catalytic layer with slightly cheaper metals such as gold (Au) and silver (Ag), to study the possibility of synthesizing a cheaper and more economical PEM fuel cell for commercial use.

In our research, we conducted a series of experiments on a regular commercial PEM fuel cell. The experiments included testing the cell with its standard basic catalytic layer made from (Pt–Ru/C) with a range of O2 and H2 flow conditions and multiple temperature variations including the operating temperature of the cell. Pt was then replaced in the cell with the nano-particles of Ag and we repeated the experiments with similar conditions and variables.

When replacing the platinum with silver, the performance of the cell relatively decreased. However, due to the large difference in cost between Pt and Ag, the net result is a large gain, especially in automotive engineering applications (about 10 folds).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2016

This article was made available online on 14 September 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Role of Nanotechnology in Improving the Performance of PEM Fuel Cell in Future Automotive Applications".

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