Developing Titanium Micro/Nano Porous Layers on Planar Thin/Tunable LGDLs for High-Efficiency Hydrogen Production

Zhenye Kang, Gaoqiang Yang, Jingke Mo, Shule Yu, David A. Cullen, Scott T. Retterer, Todd J. Toops, Michael P. Brady, Guido Bender, Bryan S. Pivovar, Johney B. Green, Feng Yuan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus Citations


Proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells (PEMECs) have been considered one of the most promising devices for hydrogen generation and energy storage from water splitting, especially when coupled with sustainable energy resources. Microporous layers (MPLs), which have been widely used in fuel cells for better catalyst access and product/reactant removal, have limited investigations in PEMECs due to harsh environments and carbon corrosion. In this study, the MPLs with both irregular micro (∼5 μm) and spherical nano (30–50 nm) titanium particles are developed on novel thin/tunable liquid/gas diffusion layers (TT-LGDLs) and are investigated comprehensively both in-situ and ex-situ for the first time. The MPLs change the wettability of the TT-LGDLs and show super hydrophobic property. The results reveal that micro particle MPLs exhibit improved catalytic activity but increased ohmic resistances, and that nano particle MPLs do not impact catalytic activity meaningfully but exhibit even greater increases in ohmic resistance. The effects of the thickness of the MPLs are also investigated and the typical MPL is also studied by in-situ visualization in a transparent PEMEC with a high-speed and micro-scale visualization system (HMVS). The results indicate the strong feasibility of the TT-LGDLs with small pore size and large porosity for high-efficiency and low-cost PEMEC practical applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)14618-14628
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number31
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-71854


  • Activation
  • Hydrogen energy
  • Liquid/gas diffusion layers
  • Microporous layer
  • Proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells
  • Water splitting


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