GAIA project accelerates fuel-cells development for automotive
Elmarco takes part in GAIA project, supported from EU Horizon 2020 Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking programme. Elmarco as a member of project consortium provides nanofibrous web production at pilot scale and industrial scale using free-surface electrospinning technology patented by Elmarco. The project consortium is coordinated by CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and includes also BMW Group, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, 3M Deutschland, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Zentrum für Sonnenenergie und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, Technical University of Munich, Technical University of Berlin and Pretexo.
GAIA aims to developing a high performance automotive Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) that provides the materials and designs that satisfy the cost target by providing high power density at high current density, while also attaining the other essential objectives of durability, reliability and high operation temperature. Its intention is to:
- Realise the potential of these components in next generation MEAs showing a step-change in performance that will largely surpass the state of the art by delivering a beginning of life power density of 1.8 W/cm2 at 0.6 V;
- Validate the MEA performance and durability in full size cell short stacks, with durability tests of 1,000 h with extrapolation to 6,000 h.
- Provide a cost assessment study that demonstrates that the MEAs can achieve the cost target of 6 €/kW for an annual production rate of 1 million square metres.
GAIA will develop and bring together advanced critical PEM fuel cell components. These components will be integrated into a fuel cell that is capable of delivering on the most challenging of the performance, cost and durability targets required for large-scale automotive fuel cell commercialisation. New designs, architectures, constructions and deposition methods will be used at the level of the components and at the level of their integration in the catalyst layer, where novel constructions and coating methods will be used. While some of the materials and components are early developments with the technology concept formulated, the majority have already been proven experimentally. These components will be further advanced, optimised and integrated into next generation automotive MEAs to demonstrate the application of the technology.
More info: http://www.gaia-fuelcell.eu
This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 826097. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.
Why are nanofibres so valued and where do they help?
Nanofibres with diameter measured in nanometers can be made from a variety of polymers and therefore can achieve various physical properties and application potential. All polymer nanofibres are unique due to their large surface-to-volume ratio, high porosity, noticeable mechanical strength and flexibility compared to their microfibre counterparts.
If you are looking for a material that is both durable and flexible, nanofibre is a clear choice.
Compared to conventional fibres, nanofibres are lightweight, have a small diameter and variable pore structure, making them ideal for use in a variety of industries, such as air filtration, liquid filtration, protective clothing manufacturing, tissue engineering, functional materials manufacturing and energy storage.
In addition, they are so variable that they can be made of both synthetic and natural materials. There are, for example, carbon, polymer, graphite, collagen or cellulose nanofibres, and we have not yet listed all the alternatives.
Where do the nanofibres help?
Thanks to their unique physical properties, nanofibres can be used in many areas of human activity. It's not just ultra-fine masks and filters for respirators – nanofibres are helping also elsewhere.
By simply adding thin coatings of electrospun nanofibers to traditional filtration substrates, the filtration performance is enhanced several fold. Nanofibers dramatically improve filtration efficiency, they have low initial and persistent pressure drop and enables possibility to optimize the interaction between flow, efficiency and filter life.
In the field of liquid filtration, nanofibre membranes with pores capable of capturing even the smallest harmful particles are used. Due to the high surface-to-volume ratio and the noticeable surface tension, particles smaller than 1 micrometer are captured. Nanofibre filter technology helps, among other things, in third world countries, where it is necessary to filter polluted water so that it is drinkable and healthy.
In the tissue engineering, nanofibres are used to produce scaffolds that support the growth, multiplication and reproduction of the biological tissue to be replaced. They are most often used to cover and heal burns and to control the release and transport of drugs into damaged tissue. The inherent biodegradability of the scaffold allows tissue transplantation and healing without the need for surgical removal of the nanofibre scaffolding.
Nanofibres have also found application in leisure functional clothing. Nanofibre microporous membranes have the potential to provide the wearer with thermal comfort, a better level of water resistance, and, at the same time, efficiently dissipate vapours.
Photovoltaics and the automotive industry
In the power industry, choosing the right polymer allows electrons or ions to be conducted, making nanofibres interesting for energy production and storage. In this area, nanofibres can be used for photovoltaic panels, battery storage systems and capacitors. The application of nanofibres to rechargeable batteries using silicon properties is currently being considered. This would improve the efficiency of lithium batteries present in plug-in electric vehicles. Nanofibres are already used in the automotive industry to produce more efficient automotive filters.
In the military, nanofibres are used to improve the ability to detect chemical and biological agents. Nanofibre-enriched garments improve the protection of military personnel through their ability to filter and decompose toxins. This particular area of application has given rise to self-cleaning personal protection equipment. These mainly include masks composed of two "layers." The first is used to filter the air, while the second contains activated carbon, which absorbs harmful gases and impurities.