The electrode layers thrust is researching how to make high-performing membrane electrode assemblies and electrode layers with low platinum loadings and high performance.

 Research Focus

Low-Platinum-Loaded Electrode Layers

FC-PAD is researching low-platinum-loaded electrode layers to improve their performance at high current densities and limit the degradation losses at the electrode layer level, including electrocatalyst and support composition and morphology changes and electrode-structure changes.

Transport in Low-Loaded Catalyst Layers

FC-PAD is researching transport in low-loaded catalyst layers to:

  • Explore the impact of different catalyst-layer compositions (including low equivalent-weight ionomer) to ascertain how transport phenomena change
  • Apply existing diagnostics using limiting current and develop new techniques to quantify transport limitations and better define resistance.

Electrode Layer Designs and Fabrication

FC-PAD is researching electrode layer designs and fabrication to:

  • Understand the formation of electrode layers
  • Explore alteration of the ionomer-solvent-catalyst ink composition, solvent removal methods, and/or ionomer properties, such as equivalent weight, in coordination with electrocatalysts and supports activities
  • Explore new electrode-layer structures—including those involving a very thin first layer coating the catalyst surfaces to provide local conductivity with a minimal transport barrier and a second phase of a solid network to provide bulk ionic conductivity—to increase high-current-density performance.

Electrode Layer Degradation

FC-PAD is researching electrode layer degradation to examine the origins of the changing transport losses by examining how changing properties of the electrode layer, the surface properties of the carbon support, protonic conductivity of the ionomer, and pore morphology impact durability.

 Participating Labs

These national laboratories will conduct the foundational technical work in the electrode layers thrust area:

Argonne National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

See lab capabilities 


Photo of K.C. Neyerlin

K.C. Neyerlin
Electrode Layers Thrust Coordinator
National Renewable Energy Laboratory