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Hydrogen is proving to be a versatile energy carrier. The variety of applications continue to expand to sectors such as advanced alternative and renewable fuels, chemicals, and process heat. Accomplishments spanning from fundamental materials innovations to the largest university-based hydrogen combustion research facility in the United States place Georgia Tech in an exceptional position to maximize the benefits of hydrogen in the coming energy transition.

Research Highlight

Advancing fuel cell performance and durability via components advancement

Record high conductivity anion exchange membranes and ionomers used in fabricating electrodes have been developed for low-temperature fuel cells (as well as water electrolysis). Electrochemical cells using anion conductive polymer electrolytes have several advantages over acid-based polymer approaches. In addition to the solid polymer membrane, the same polymer family has been used to make self-adhesive ionomers for making durable, high-conductivity electrodes. The membranes and ionomers are based on hydroxide conducting poly(norbornene) polymers, shown below.

The norbornene copolymers have a very high glass transition temperature and can be used to form tough, ultra-thin membranes. Record high-performance polymer-based hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells are shown in Figure 2. {Similarly favorable polarization curves and stability have been observed for water electrolysis as well.} The patent-pending membranes and ionomers were developed under the leadership of  Regents’ Professor and Thomas L. Gossage Chair, Paul Kohl, and are commercially available in prototype and high volume.


Figure 1. Poly(norbornene) anion conducting copolymer


Figure 2. Performance of hydrogen/oxygen and hydrogen/air anionic fuel cell

Researchers Active in Hydrogen Utilization