Influence of Coating Method on the Performance of Roll-to-Roll Coated PEM Fuel Cell Catalyst Layers

Research output: NRELPresentation


As production of fuel cell vehicles and power systems increases there is a need to understand the process science of fuel cell manufacturing. Industrial production of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) electrodes will rely on continuous roll-to-roll (R2R) coating methods to meet the rates needed for mass production. There are a variety of coating methods that could be used to coat catalyst layers. The different physics of each method may result in different morphologies and performance. Here we present the results of a study comparing fuel cell catalyst layers coated using two R2R coating methods: slot-die and gravure. These two methods were selected because the physics of applying the liquid to the substrate is very different between the two cases. Pt/C catalysts layers were coated directly onto carbon-fiber gas diffusion media to create gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs), without the use of a decal transfer process. These GDEs were assembled into membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) by hot pressing to Nafion membranes. In situ performance and other electrochemical diagnostics were used to determine the influence of coating method on catalyst layer electrochemical properties. Electron microscopy was utilized to understand the influence of coating method on electrode morphology and its influence on electrochemical properties. We also explored the influence of solvent ratio to understand the potential coupling between ink formulation and coating methodology.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 20th ISCST Symposium, 20-23 September 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5900-77815


  • fuel cells
  • manufacturing
  • roll-to-roll coatings


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