Today, Fuel Cells are a generic name for a range of technologies.
On the one hand we have PEMFC mostly based on (expensive) Nafion, we have various high T techniques such as SOFCs. Some are intended for automotive & (hand held) electronic devices, some for stationary power e.g. in chlorine electrolysis, for mobile phone (GSM) repeaters, for high power and energy storage.
With steadily increasing solar and wind power becoming available, usually at the wrong time, mass energy storage is an essential feature of a future global power system. It is necessary to develop this further using multiple approaches, in particular using fuel cell technology.
Other fuels than hydrogen may be considered as this also may lead to reduced cost of catalysts and easier handling, storage and pressurisation. Higher performance, reduced costs and improved safety are needed. We carry out research to develop new generation, post Nafion, fuel cell membranes allowing roughly at least twice the current power density, reducing costs, and satisfying the safety requirements of today’s systems. Post Nafion cells using hydrated fillers may offer that, but at the present time there is plenty of other work to do e.g. on alkaline PEMs that might allow different fuels and catalysts. Similarly, there are potential improvements in the electrode materials, often made from polymer nanocomposites, while including the catalyst both to make the conducting filler and act as the FC catalyst during operation. High temperature SOFC may be ideal for large scale energy production.
Still there are many improvements to be made. Hence this topic is worthy of further study in order to establish its (the various) capabilities. Without such investigation it will be impossible to determine which, if any, concept can become a viable commercial technology. This work we believe is useful for a variety of industrial partners, like Minus9, Nedstack, HyET, Active Warmth, Teijin, mxpolymers – to name a few and we welcome any input suggestion for expansion of this type of research. Also, one might imagine connecting this program to regional and national sustainable energy initiatives, also including HBO education on sustainable energy technology etc.