Advancing next-generation proton-exchange membrane fuel cell development in multi-physics transfer

Guobin Zhang, Zhiguo Qu*, Wen Quan Tao, Yutong Mu, Kui Jiao, Hui Xu, Yun Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The development of an ultralow-Pt catalyst layer (CL) without sacrificing proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance and durability is urgently needed to boost fuel cell commercialization. Besides material development, advanced CL microstructure design is required to ensure optimal multi-physics transfer and enhanced electrochemical surface area (ECSA). However, this is largely hindered by current poor understanding of the complex “gas-liquid-heat-electron-proton” transfers, in conjunction with the electrochemical reactions, and is also greatly influenced by the temporal CL microstructure evolution during long-term operation. Herein, we present several important research and development directions after critically examining the multi-physics transfer in fresh CLs and the microstructure evolution of degraded CLs. This knowledge is essential to designing and fabricating ultralow-Pt CLs for next-generation cost-effective, high-performance, and durable PEM fuel cells and to meet the urgent need for development of new research tools, including pore- and cell-scale models, experimental methods, machine learning algorithms, and their rational combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • catalyst layer
  • clean and sustainable energy
  • durability
  • multi-physics transfer
  • proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • proton-exchange membrane fuel cell


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