With the rapid growth and development of proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology, there has been increasing demand for clean and sustainable global energy applications. Of the many device-level and infrastructure challenges that need to be overcome before wide commercialization can be realized, one of the most critical ones is increasing the PEMFC power density, and ambitious goals have been proposed globally. For example, the short- and long-term power density goals of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization are 6 kilowatts per litre by 2030 and 9 kilowatts per litre by 2040, respectively. To this end, here we propose technical development directions for next-generation high-power-density PEMFCs. We present the latest ideas for improvements in the membrane electrode assembly and its components with regard to water and thermal management and materials. These concepts are expected to be implemented in next-generation PEMFCs to achieve high power density.
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This research was supported by the China-UK International Cooperation and Exchange Project (Newton Advanced Fellowship), supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51861130359), the UK Royal Society (grant number NAF\R1\180146), UK EPSRC (grant number EP/S000933/1), and the Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (China) for Distinguished Young Scholars (grant number 18JCJQJC46700).
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature thanks Shangfeng Du, Julien Durst and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Jiao, K., Xuan, J., Du, Q. et al. Designing the next generation of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. Nature 595, 361–369 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03482-7