Innovative concepts from Electrodes to Stacks

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Chemistry

Abstract

The goal of this Korea-UK research initiative is to address Research theme 1 (Innovative concepts from Electrodes to stack) of the EPSRC-KETEP Call for Collaborative Research with Korea on Fuel Cell Technologies. The proposal also covers some aspects of Research theme 2 (Predictive control for performance and degradation mitigation). Hence, this research is associated with improving the lifetime and performance of polymer electrolyte fuel cells.

Within this project we will develop new corrosion resistant catalyst supports and catalyse those supports utilising a new catalysis technique. We will also examine the development of porous bipolar plates and see how we can integrate those bipolar plates and catalysts within a fuel cell. We will trial the materials in test stacks and look at the performance and longevity of these new materials. Parallel to this work, we will use state of the art x-ray tomography and other imaging techniques to assess the performance of the materials under real operating conditions. Information from these tests will allow us to develop a methodological framework to simulate the performance of the fuel cells. This framework will then be used to build more efficient control strategies for our higher performance fuel cell systems.

We will also build a strong and long-lasting collaborative framework between Korea and the UK for both academic research and commercial trade. The project will benefit from the complementary strengths of the Korean and UK PEFC programmes, and represents a significant international activity in fuel cell research that includes a focus on the challenging issues of cost reduction and performance enhancement. The project will have particularly high impact and added value due to a strong personnel exchange programme with researchers spending several months in each other's labs; highly relevant industrial collaboration; and links with the H2FC Supergen. We have strong support from industrial companies in both the UK and Korea who will support our goals of developing new catalysts for fuel cells (Amalyst - UK, and RTX Corporation - Korea), new corrosion resistant porous bipolar plates (NPL-UK; Hyundai Hysco and Hankook tire (Korea)), and fuel cell and system integrators (Arcola Energy and Intelligent Energy (UK)).

Planned Impact

What impact will our work have?
Networking outputs of programme
* Six UK-Korea meetings each with two week PI/coI involvement at collaborators lab and companies
* Eighteen one month research placements for our RAs in collaborators country at research institute
* Two Workshops highlighting progress in research
* Three presentations at H2FC supergen and a yearly report to H2FC and KETEP

Physical outputs of program
* Develop corrosion resistant catalyst supports
* Catalyse corrosion resistant catalyst supports using an innovative approach
* Develop metal based, corrosion resistant gas transport layers and porous bipolar plates
* Produce a fuel cell which embodies all of these components.

Knowledge based outputs of the programme
* Examine operating fuel cells using high resolution x-ray tomographic techniques along with a range of other imaging techniques,
* Develop a deeper understanding of how PEFCs operate under different conditions
* Improved fuel cell models and develop new control strategies
* Software frameworks for operating fuel cells under a range of different conditions.

Improvement in PEFC operational life and durability
The new materials and modelling frameworks described above and produced within the project will lead to an improvement in fuel cell operational life and hence a reduction of their whole-life costs. This will accelerate the uptake of these systems.

Knowledge transfer between industry and academia
Our work will involve significant transfer of knowledge between academia and industry and between Korea and the UK. We will leverage access to the NPL Industrial Advisory Group (see NPL LoS) and the STFC Global Challenge Network (PRS Lead) to disseminate knowledge to UK industry.

Improved cooperation between Korea and the UK on fuel cell Issues
Our approach is to synthesise a research programme which is bi-directional - in this win-win project both Korean and UK academic institutions and companies benefit by exposure to new techniques, materials and systems. This will strengthen the interactions between the two countries, especially as we have a significant component of cross-border researcher exchange in the project.

Who will benefit from our research?
* Academics as discussed in the previous section
* Fuel cell component and systems manufacturers -We have already targeted three of the premier UK based fuel cell component and system manufacturers as collaborators in this project (Amalyst, Arcola, and IE) and have associated fuel component manufacturers in Korea - Hyundai, Hankook and RTX. However, other industrial manufacturers will also be interested in our work (e.g. AAFC, Ballard, Toyota, Nissan, 3M, SGL etc)
* Policy Makers - The investigators have a track record in feeding research findings into policy, and will continue to liaise with policy makers during this project, through bodies such as the H2FC Supergen and Imperial's Energy Futures Lab.

How will we deliver impact from our research?
* Research publications - as described in Academics section
* H2FC Supergen - by communicating results to the Supergen in a yearly report; by presentations at the yearly H2FC meeting; hosting a yearly breakout session at the annual Supergen conference to highlight our new techniques and offer a tutorial session for all academics to attend.
* Collaborators - By applying our new materials and computational frameworks to their systems; by knowledge transfer when our researchers spend time at their facilities, both in the UK and Korea.
* External companies - By better understanding the issues that they are facing; by describing our results within the H2FC Supergen meetings and at individual meetings; by presentations at a workshop at the mid-point at Korea and end of the project in the UK.
* Commercialisation - We have a strong track record of commercialising fuel cell companies and generating IP - e.g. Ceres at Imperial, IE from Loughborough and the EIL (Amalyst) at UCL.

Publications

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Abouelamaiem D (2018) Integration of supercapacitors into printed circuit boards in Journal of Energy Storage

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Cho J (2018) Capillaries for water management in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

 
Description We have developed a new type of conductive metal based electrode structure fir use in fuel cells
Exploitation Route We are examining commercialization opportunites for our project
Sectors Energy,Environment

 
Description We have used the findings to develop less expensive and more powerful fuel cells for use in vehicles and stationary applications
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Chemicals,Construction,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description ICASE studentship
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Johnson Matthey 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Description Sodium battery project
Amount £166,000 (GBP)
Organisation Shell International Petroleum 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2017 
End 09/2019
 
Description Sorcerer
Amount € 1,650,632 (EUR)
Funding ID 738085 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 02/2017 
End 01/2020
 
Description Symbiotic
Amount € 3,000,000 (EUR)
Funding ID http://symbiotic-project.eu/project/ 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 01/2016 
End 11/2018
 
Description crescendo
Amount € 2,739,602 (EUR)
Funding ID http://www.crescendo-fuelcell.eu 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2020
 
Title Dataset for paper "Facile synthesis of palladium phosphide electrocatalysts and their activity for the hydrogen oxidation, hydrogen evolutions, oxygen reduction and formic acid oxidation reactions" 
Description Dataset of information used in the abovementioned paper 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None identified at the moment 
 
Title Dataset for paper "General Models for the Electrochemical Hydrogen Oxidation and Hydrogen Evolution Reactions: Theoretical Derivation and Experimental Results under Near Mass-Transport Free Conditions" 
Description Data used in the above named paper including models for handling data and spreadsheets 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None at present 
 
Description Bramble Energy 
Organisation Bramble Energy Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have contributed knowledge to better understand the operation of the fuel cells developed by Bramble
Collaborator Contribution Bramble Energy is a spinout and has contributed materials for testing within my research group
Impact Three patents
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Supergen 
Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Supergen
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution H2FC is the hydrogen and fuel cell supergen. We have presented results at H2FC conferences and as Kucernak is a theme leader the results have been used to set the direction of future research
Collaborator Contribution Allow research to be seen by wider audience.
Impact Presentation of results at H2FC conferences
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with RFC Power 
Organisation RFC Power
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution RFC Power is a spinout from Imperial college of which i am founder We have collaborated with them on an Innovate UK project
Collaborator Contribution Manpower
Impact Formation of a company RFC power
Start Year 2018
 
Title FUEL CELL COMPRISING AT LEAST TWO STACKED PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS WITH A PLURALITY OF INTERCONNECTED FUEL CELL UNITS 
Description A fuel cell comprising at least two stacked fuel cell boards (22) which each comprise a membrane of substantially gas impervious electrolyte material and at least two electrode pairs wherein the anode and cathode of each said electrode pair are arranged on respective faces of said membrane. An electrode of each pair of electrodes is connected to an electrode of an adjacent pair of electrodes by a through-membrane connection (13) or by an external connection on a Printed Circuit Board, comprising an electrically conductive region of said electrolyte material. A method for forming the through-membrane electrical connections in the electrolyte membrane is also disclosed. 
IP Reference CA2828460 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2012
Licensed Yes
Impact Fuel Cell company now using this patent to make fuel cells
 
Title FUEL CELL COMPRISING AT LEAST TWO STACKED PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS WITH A PLURALITY OF INTERCONNECTED FUEL CELL UNITS 
Description Method of producing fuel cells in a low cost manner 
IP Reference WO2012117035 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact Patent being used by company to manufacture systems
 
Title Fuel Cell Comprising at Least Two Stacked Printed Circuit Boards with a Plurality of Interconnected Fuel Cell Units 
Description A fuel cell comprising at least two stacked fuel cell boards (22) which each comprise a membrane of substantially gas impervious electrolyte material and at least two electrode pairs wherein the anode and cathode of each said electrode pair are arranged on respective faces of said membrane. An electrode of each pair of electrodes is connected to an electrode of an adjacent pair of electrodes by a through-membrane connection (13) or by an external connection on a Printed Circuit Board, comprising an electrically conductive region of said electrolyte material. A method for forming the through-membrane electrical connections in the electrolyte membrane is also disclosed. 
IP Reference US2014154604 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact used by company to produce fuel cells
 
Title Fuel cell 
Description A fuel cell assembly is disclosed comprising a fuel cell electrode component and a reactant gas flow component ink bonded thereto. In one aspect direct bonding of a gas diffusion layer with a flow field is achieved allowing a simplified structural configuration. In another aspect improved component printing techniques reduce corrosion effects. In a further aspect flow fields are described providing reactant channels extending in both the horizontal and vertical directions, i.e. providing three dimensional flow. In a further aspect an improved wicking material allows wicking away and reactant humidification. In a further aspect improved mechanical fastenings and connectors are provided. In a further aspect improved humidification approaches are described. Further improved aspects are additionally disclosed. 
IP Reference CN104488125 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Yes
Impact Patent being used by company to manufacture systems
 
Title Fuel cell comprising at least two stacked printed circuit boards with a plurality of interconnected fuel cell units 
Description A fuel cell comprising at least two stacked fuel cell boards (22) which each comprise a membrane of substantially gas impervious electrolyte material and at least two electrode pairs wherein the anode and cathode of each said electrode pair are arranged on respective faces of said membrane. An electrode of each pair of electrodes is connected to an electrode of an adjacent pair of electrodes by a through-membrane connection (13) or by an external connection on a printed circuit board, comprising an electrically conductive region of said electrolyte material. A method for forming the through-membrane electrical connections in the electrolyte membrane is also disclosed. 
IP Reference CN103620842 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact patent used to produce fuel cells by company
 
Title OXYGEN REDUCTION CATALYSTS 
Description The present invention relates to a method for preparing a catalyst which can be used to catalyse the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The invention also provides a catalyst obtained from the method and its use as an electrode, for example, in a galvanic cell, an electrolytic cell or an oxygen sensor. 
IP Reference WO2015049318 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Yes
Impact Used to manufacture catalysts and spawned other research
 
Company Name Bramble Energy Ltd 
Description Bramble Energy makes low cost fuel cells 
Year Established 2016 
Impact Early stage at the moment.
 
Description Royal Society/Chinese Academy of Sciences policy dialogue on energy storage at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The Royal Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) are acting
as conveners to bring together key industrialists and academics to understand both the national
and international technical and policy challenges facing the energy storage sector. The objectives
of the dialogue are to be able to inform policy agendas and to create a growing group of UK-
China experts who understand the wider policy environment and can take advantage of the
opportunities as they develop.

The dialogue will take place over two days (16th and 17th January 2019) at the Dalian Institute of
Chemical Physics, Dalian, China. The UK delegation will number around 15 academics and
industrialists with a total of around 30 people attending.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 'Managing Impurities in H2 Workshop' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The output from this workshop will be a document used to scope a proposal for a dedicated study looking at managing impurities in hydrogen across the supply chain, for different end-use applications. For further information on the objectives of this workshop please see the Eventbrite page here! The programme, with a list of questions for the discussion groups is below.




Discussion Groups:

1) H2 production,

2) H2 solid state storage,

3) H2 storage in caverns and transport (gas grid and other)

4) Applications/end-use technologies (fuel cells - stationery and vehicle) and combustion appliances




Programme/Questions:

10:00 - 10:30 Registration - Coffee/Tea

10:30 - 11:00 Introduction and Presentations (NPL & H2FC Hub)




11:00 - 11:40 Group Discussions:

Q1) Groups 1-3: What are the main impurities and challenges in each (group) area - where do the impurities come from?

Q1) For Group 4: What are the purity requirements for appliances/fuel cells? Comments on exiting and required standards?

Q2) All Groups: Existing work and technologies:

- What are options for removal/filtration?

- What are the challenges with the technologies investigated?

- Are there any mitigation options to minimise impact of impurities on end use applications?

- Note: Please note cost considerations of each options.

11:40-12:10 Group Feedback

12:10 -13:10 Lunch

13:10-13:40 Group Discussion:

Q3) How to link-up the supply chain (stakeholders) for further work.

- What research remains to be done?

- What work activity is needed across the supply chain to further investigate impurities and filtration technologies?

- Who in the room (or outside) can help with this?

- Suggestions for funding opportunities?

13:40 - 14:10 Group Feedback

14:10 - 14:30 Conclusions

14:30 - 15:30 NPL Impurities Lab Tour (optional)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BEIS EINA Workshop: Hydrogen & Fuel Cell 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On behalf of BEIS, Vivid Economics/Carbon Trust/E4Tech invite you to a workshop to inform innovation spending priorities for the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell sector on 13th February 2019


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is looking at the future of innovation spending across all areas of energy. A structured Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINA) process has been developed to gather evidence and analyse the role of selected technologies in the UK's future energy system. This will inform where innovation support and investment could deliver the greatest benefits, informing spending priorities. Vivid Economics, Carbon Trust, and E4Tech have been contracted by BEIS to carry out this work.

Following whole energy system modelling by the Energy Systems Catapult using the energy system modelling environment (ESME) model, we have identified key technologies considered most important for energy system value. Your experience in the Hydrogen & Fuel Cell sector will help us to validate a suggested set of innovations, prioritise these in terms of importance for the UK energy system and identify how to unlock the opportunities presented by each technology. We will take account of other key documents that have been published in this area.

Here is the agenda for a workshop, which will be held in two parts:
10.00-12.30 Technologies. Discuss a suggested table of key innovations and a table focused on cost outlooks, which will be provided for your review before the workshop (these are provided a few days prior to the workshop).
[Lunch 12.30-1.00]
1.00-3.30 Business and policy opportunities. Your experience in the sector will help us to identify domestic and international business opportunities and identify barriers to unlocking them.

We are inviting 15-20 Hydrogen & Fuel Cell experts from academia, industry, and governmental organisations. The workshop will be held at Broadway House, Council Chamber, Tothill St, Westminster, London SW1H 9NQ, on 13th February 2019. With your expertise, we expect that you would be most suited to attending both sessions, but please let us know if you feel otherwise.

We hope that the importance of BEIS's goal will enable you to prioritise attendance. I would be grateful if you could please confirm attendance by 18th January 2019 and in line with GDPR requirements, please confirm that you consent to us to sharing your name and email address with BEIS and our consortium partners (Vivid Economic, Carbon Trust) solely for the purposes of this project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Pint of Science: Fuels of the future 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pint of Science event at
Events at Draft House Westbridge
74-76 Battersea Bridge Rd, London, SW11 3AG
on 14 May 2018


7.00pm: Welcome and Introduction

7.15pm: Professor Anthony Kucernak: Hydrogen: Its Time Has Come
7.40pm: Q and A with Prof. Kucernak (prizes for questions!)
7.55pm: Interval and Quiz (your chance to win some prizes!)
8.25pm: Dr. Andreas Kafizas: Can Water Fuel Our Future?
8.50pm: Demo + Q and A session with Dr. Kafizas
9.05pm: Thank you and gift/prize giving
9.15pm: Close

To sum up, we would need from you:
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://pintofscience.co.uk/event/fuels-of-the-future
 
Description Renewable Fuel Generation and Energy Storage 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Renewable Fuel Generation and Energy Storage Symposium
2nd November 2018
Molecular Sciences Research Hub, White City Campus, Imperial College London
PROGRAMME
09:00 - 09:30 Arrival and light breakfast
09:30 - 09:40 Introductory remarks: Dr. Andreas Kafizas
MATERIALS Chair: Dr. Franky Bedoya
09:40 - 10:10 Life beyond titania: new materials for solar fuel generation
Prof. Aron Walsh, Department of Materials
10:10 - 10:40 MOF-based composites as bifunctional materials for CO2 capture and photoconversion
Dr. Camille Petit, Department of Chemical Engineering
10:40 - 11:00 Coffee & Poster session
11:00 - 11:30 Photoelectrocatalytic properties of atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides
Dr. Cecilia Mattevi, Department of Materials
11:30 - 12:00 Lead-acid batteries recycling for the 21st Century
Dr. David Payne, Department of Materials
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch & Poster session
TECHNIQUES AND FUNDAMENTALS Chair: Dr. Anna Hankin
13:00 - 13:30 Measuring the intrinsic catalytic performance of catalysts for fuel cells and electrolysers
Prof. Anthony Kucernak, Department of Chemistry
13:30 - 14:00 Towards a parameter-free theory for electrochemical phenomena at the nanoscale
Dr. Clotilde Cucinotta, Department of Chemistry
14:00 - 14:30 Transient spectroscopic studies of approaches to artificial photosynthesis
Prof. James Durrant, Department of Chemistry
14:30 - 15:00 In-situ ultrafast methods for solar fuels: Can we push efficiencies?
Dr. Ernest Pastor, Department of Chemistry
15:00 - 15:20 Coffee & Poster session
DEVICES AND IMPLEMENTATION Chair: Dr. Ernest Pastor
15:20 - 15:50 Upscaling battery technology: From material science to pack engineering
Dr. Billy Wu, Dyson School of Design Engineering
15:50 - 16:20 Electrochemical synthesis of fuels and valuable chemicals: from fundamental catalysis studies to real devices
Dr. Ifan Stephens, Department of Materials
16:20 - 16:50 (Photo-)electrochemical reactors for energy conversion and storage
Prof. Geoff Kelsall, Department of Chemical Engineering
16:50 - 17:20 Renewable gas from offshore wind and offshore electrolysers
Dr. Malte Jansen, Centre for Environmental Policy
PANEL DISUSSION Chair: Prof. Geoff Kelsall
17:20 - 18:00 Question for the panellists: Learning from the presentations today, what disruptive technologies and collaborative projects would you like to see at ICL?
Panellists: Prof. James Durrant (Chemistry), Prof. Richard Templer (Chemistry & Grantham Institute), Dr. Judith Cherni (Centre for Environmental Policy) and Dr. Sam Coper (Dyson School of Design Engineering).
18:00 - 18:10 Closing remarks and prize-giving: Dr. Andreas Kafizas
18:10 - Late Wine and mingling
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Stand demonstrating technology at "The great exhibition rd festival", 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Stand at the "Great Exhibition Rd festival in June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.greatexhibitionroadfestival.co.uk/whats-on/
 
Description The Hydrogen Economy in The Future Energy Landscape 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The hydrogen economy is steadily gaining increasing importance as a realistic and affordable option in the context of the de-carbonisation challenge that the UK and other countries have set themselves to for the next few decades.



To explore this subject, we are delighted to invite you to a workshop taking place in November to explore what a possible hydrogen economy landscape may look like in the UK in 2035, what the implications may be for the various actors within the energy system, and what decisions may be required to translate that vision into a realistic plan.



Building on the scenario described in the Arup publication " Energy systems: A view from 2035", this workshop is part of Arup's thought leadership initiatives to explore the future of energy in the upcoming decades. It will be a unique opportunity to come together with colleagues and peers across government, to consider the commercial models, regulatory framework and policy decision required to develop and implement a potential future hydrogen economy.



This workshop is the second of a series where we will be exploring the challenges and opportunities of the hydrogen economy with experts across the industry:

Workshop - Hydrogen economy: industry stakeholders

(28th November 2018 - Breakfast served from 8.45 for a 9.00 start. Close at 3.30)

Breakfast event: Hydrogen economy: route map review with government and industry representatives

(12th December 2018)

Each event will be facilitated by our subject matter experts, who can leverage Arup's understanding of the hydrogen economy, of the regulatory framework and commercial models, as well as of the broader hydrogen stakeholders' community.



They will be highly interactive sessions, which will challenge common assumptions and will encourage attendees to consider the hydrogen economy on its multiple aspects and from different perspectives - each stakeholder for example will be asked to 'role-play' different actors in the system.



In each session we will be producing a route map to a possible hydrogen economy system in the UK, which will then be reviewed and tested during the breakfast event in December 2018, with representatives from government and the industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019