3D Printed Bipolar Plate for Water Electrolysis

Thursday, 1 June 2017: 17:20
Grand Salon B - Section 7 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
F. Y. Zhang (UT Space Institute, University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
3D printed bipolar plate for water electrolysis

Gaoqiang Yang1, Jingke Mo1, Zhenye Kang[1], Frederick A. List III2, Johney B. Green Jr3, Sudarsanam S. Babu2,4, Feng-Yuan Zhang*1


A proton exchange membrane electrolyzer is considered as a potential route to the hydrogen production in recent years. It offers a series of advantages, including high product purity, high working current and pressure. As a novel solution for manufacturing process, 3D printing technology is capable of fast and cost-saving prototyping with complex structure from digital models. By employing 3D printing technology, a stainless-steel (SS) component, which is functioned as both of bipolar plate and current distributor, was rapidly produced with selective laser melting (SLM) technique, and was then comprehensively investigated in a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell (PEMEC). The experimental results indicated the PEMEC with an 3D printed stainless steel bipolar plate provided an excellent performance, which reached 1.78 V at 2.0 A/cm2 and 80 °C. Furthermore, the 3D printed SS cathode bipolar plate was also ex-situ characterized before and after test by SEM and EDS. This research of 3D printed stainless steel bipolar plate not only provides a route to the quick development of light weight and cheap electrolyzer, but also lead to improvements for other energy related devices.

[1] Nano HELP, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering, UT Space Institute, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.

2 Oak Ridge National Lab, USA

3 National Renewable Energy Laboratory

* Contacting Author: E-mail: fzhang@utk.edu; Tel: +1-(931)-393-7428