The research presented in this report focuses on evaluating the performance of hydrogen fuel cells using platinum-group-metal (PGM)-free catalysts and optimizing their operation by varying cathode back pressure. The objective was to achieve similar or better performance compared to conventional platinum-based membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) while reducing the reliance on rare earth materials. A series of experiments were conducted using synthetically fabricated PGM-free MEAs, with results indicating that higher input pressures led to a significant increase in power output, reaching nearly 70% of the performance of the conventional platinum, ruthenium, and carbon-based MEAs. This research contributes to the overall understanding and optimization of hydrogen fuel cell technology, which is essential for a more sustainable energy future. By exploring the potential of PGM-free catalysts, this study paves the way for more efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly energy solutions in hydrogen fuel cell applications.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission