Scope

The market for PEM fuel cells will increase to 10’s GWs per annum from 2015. For the catalyst coated membrane (CCM), a critical stack component, continuous manufacturing processes are currently being implemented by manufacturers worldwide.

While these will meet CCM demand for the next ten years, the growing requirement for increased numbers of CCMs after that necessitates a manufacturing step-change, both concerning cost and capacity.

MAMA-MEA project addresses this by assembling a consortium with extensive knowledge and expertise of both fuel cell technology and manufacturing in the digital coating and printed electronics industry, to develop the highly innovative concept of an additive layer manufacturing (ALM) process for the edge-sealed catalyst-coated membrane (CCM). The key CCM components (anode and cathode catalyst layers, ion-conducting membrane and edge seals) will be deposited with high precision and speed, one component layer on top of the other, and just in the areas of the CCM where they are required for functionality.

Preliminary prototypes have established the feasibility of the approach, and patent applications have been filed. MAMA-MEA consortium will develop this innovative ALM process from MRL 3 to MRL 6, by integrating the CCM components into a single continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing process and validating the sealed CCMs in two stationary application PEM fuel cell demonstrators.

A key project objective is an increase in the manufacturing rate of over 10 times compared to the state-of-the-art process, whilst also increasing material utilisation to 99%, and the product quality, and thus yield, to over 95%.

Overall, sealed CCM direct materials and manufacturing costs will be reduced by up to 58% in the new CCMs. The project will also conduct comprehensive ex-situ characterisation and in-situ fuel cell performance and durability testing and provide an engineering design of an ALM sealed CCM production line, including quality control methodologies.

Objectives

The aim of MAMA-MEA is to develop an innovative additive layer deposition process that integrates all the main CCM components (membrane, catalyst layers, sealing) in a single continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing process for the PEM fuel cell industry, thus enabling an increase in the volume manufacturing rate of over 10 times compared to state-of-the-art processes, whilst also increasing key material utilisation and reducing materials and manufacturing costs.

The project harnesses advanced deposition techniques from the coating and printing industry. To achieve this a consortium encompassing academia, SMEs and industry, will take the concept of additive layer deposition, already at MRL3, to deliver and demonstrate an MRL6 level process design utilising a verified EU supply chain and consistent with the MAWP.