Skip to main content

fuel cells

Below is a comprehensive list of articles, events, projects, references and research related content that is specific to the term described above. Use the filter to narrow the results further. To explore additional science and technology topics that Argonne researchers and engineers may be working on please visit our Research Index.

Filter Results

  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

    Argonne’s fuel cell research extends from nanometer scale to components and systems and is focused on performance, durability and cost.
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cells with Improved Bipolar Plate Supported Fuel Cell having a Sealed Anode Compartment & Method of Sealing
    Intellectual Property Available to License
    US Patent 7,632,593 B2
    • Bipolar plate supported solid oxide fuel cell with a sealed anode compartment
    US Patent 8,652,709 B2
    • Method of sealing a bipolar plate supported solid oxide fuel cell with a sealed anode compartment

    A bipolar plate supported solid oxide fuel cell with a sealed anode compartment is provided. The solid oxide fuel cell includes a cathode, an electrolyte, and an anode, which are supported on a metallic bipolar plate assembly including gas flow fields and the gas impermeable bipolar plate. The electrolyte and anode are sealed into an anode compartment with a metal perimeter seal. An improved method of sealing is provided by extending the metal seal around the entire perimeter of the cell between an electrolyte and the bipolar plate to form the anode compartment. During a single-step high temperature sintering process the metal seal bonds to the edges of the electrolyte and anode layers, the metal foam flow field and the bipolar plate to form a gastight containment.

  • Increased performance and stability
    Intellectual Property Available to License
    US Patent 7,871,738 B2
    • Nanosegregated surfaces as catalysts for fuel cells
    Schematic illustration of the nanosegregated Pt(111)-Skin near surface atomic layers with oscillatory compositional profile.

    The Invention 

    Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a method for creating a new class of platinum multi-metallic catalysts that are not only compositionally stable but also exhibit an advantageous electronic structure with enhanced catalytic properties. 

    Using this process, researchers created an alloy of platinum and one or more transition metals (such as cobalt, nickel, iron, titanium, chromium and others). Next, they modified the near surface layers by annealing, which induces formations known as nanosegregated surfaces. These surfaces vastly improve performance by overcoming kinetic limitations for the oxygen reduction reaction. The result is a catalyst particularly advantageous for use in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. 

    In the energy industry, fuel cells are rapidly becoming an important component. However, the high cost of manufacturing the platinum catalyst—a required element in a fuel cell—makes fuel cells relatively non-competitive in the commercial world. So far, such catalysts have not been able to demonstrate the performance and life expectancy consistent with a fuel cell’s long-term operation. Argonne’s invention overcomes this limitation. 

    Benefits 

    • Enhanced catalytic properties that drive improved performance, 
    • Greater stability 
    • Greater cost-effectiveness 

    Applications and Industries 

    • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells 
    • Energy storage devices, such as metal-air batteries 
    • Magnetic storage devices 
    • Automotive industry 

    Developmental Stage 

    Proof of concept 

  • Candido Pereira

    Candido Pereira is a principal chemical engineer and manages the Process Simulation and Safeguards group within Argonne’s Chemical & Fuel Cycle Technologies Division.
  • Versatile simulation software package that allows the user to design, analyze, and compare different fuel cell configurations
    Intellectual Property Available to License

    Argonne’s GCTool (General Computational toolkit) is a versatile simulation software package that allows the user to design, analyze, and compare different fuel cell configurations, including automotive, space-based, and stationary systems.

    GCTool uses a modular approach to integrate many of the detailed thermodynamic and component models developed during decades of fuel cell and power system research. It’s flexible and easy-to-use, allowing researchers to modify all the system inputs such as fuel, feed rates, and component performance.

    GCtool provides a convenient, flexible framework for integrating various component models, in C or any C-linkable language, into simple or complex system configurations. A library of models for subcomponents and property tables common to many different systems and powertrains are available, and users can easily add their own models as needed.

    Currently, more than 50 organizations use GCtool for systems analysis and evaluation, including private-sector fuel cell companies and universities.

    Applications

    • Fuel cell systems, including polymer electrolyte, molten carbonate, phosphoric acid, and solid oxide designs
    • Pressurized fluidized-bed combustion and integrated gasification/combined-cycle plants
    • Coal combustion systems
    • Open-cycle and liquid-metal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) systems, as well as MHD ship propulsion systems
    • Space power (fuel cell, MHD, and thermionic) systems

    Features

    • Modular, flexible and easy to use
    • Supports rapid system prototyping
    • User-friendly graphical interface for editing system diagrams
    • Includes four different types of fuel cells
    • Detailed user manual with examples and frequently asked questions

    Technical Details/Requirements

    • Can be used on a PC with Windows 95, 98, or NT