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Recent Progress on the Key Materials and Components for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells in Vehicle Applications


Fuel cells are the most clean and efficient power source for vehicles. In particular, proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are the most promising candidate for automobile applications due to their rapid start-up and low-temperature operation. Through extensive global research efforts in the latest decade, the performance of PEMFCs, including energy efficiency, volumetric and mass power density, and low temperature startup ability, have achieved significant breakthroughs. In 2014, fuel cell powered vehicles were introduced into the market by several prominent vehicle companies. However, the low durability and high cost of PEMFC systems are still the main obstacles for large-scale industrialization of this technology. The key materials and components used in PEMFCs greatly affect their durability and cost. In this review, the technical progress of key materials and components for PEMFCs has been summarized and critically discussed, including topics such as the membrane, catalyst layer, gas diffusion layer, and bipolar plate. The development of high-durability processing technologies is also introduced. Finally, this review is concluded with personal perspectives on the future research directions of this area.

Funding source: This work is financially supported by National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant Nos. U1462112, 21573122, 51372271), Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grand No. 2016YFB0101200), National Key Basic Research Program of China (Grant Nos. 2012CB215401, 2012CB215402) and the Program of International ST Cooperation (Grant Nos. 2013DFG41460, 2013DFG60080).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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