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TFP develops novel electrode substrate for use in fuel cells

The substrate for use in fuel cells is the result of a collaborative project between the two companies.

6th February 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Burneside, UK

Transport/​Aerospace, Industrial, Construction

Technical Fibre Products (TFP), in partnership with Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells (JMFC), has developed a novel and commercially ready electrode substrate for use in fuel cells.

The substrate is the result of a collaborative project between TFP and JMFC and has been developed to address the market need for a lower cost alternative to the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) materials currently available.


The innovation is the output from the project Fuel Cells Incorporating Nanomaterials in Electrode Substrates (FINESSE), which has been co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The project’s primary objective was to develop a novel Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) for stationary PEMFC and portable DMFC power applications, which delivered similar performance to the current state of the art but at a reduced cost.

The project incorporated a number of development strands, with TFP leading on the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) substrate design and manufacture and JMFC leading on coating, MEA consolidation, and in-cell testing.

Knowledge and experience

Technical Fibre Products (TFP) is a leading advanced nonwoven manufacturer and has extensive experience in the development of novel materials to meet specific performance requirements in industries including aerospace, defence, energy, and construction.

The company’s technology team combines an in-depth understanding of the nonwoven forming process with the knowledge and experience to work with a range of fibres, particulates and binders.

The application of this expertise has enabled the development of a GDL electrode material that is said to offer comparable properties and performance to the current state of the art without the associated high temperature heat treatment techniques which elevate cost.

Optimal MEA design

Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells is a business dedicated to the supply of high quality fuel cell components. The company designs and manufactures membrane electrode assemblies and their sub-components for use in both automotive and stationary fuel cell applications.

As part of the project it has developed an optimal membrane electrode assembly design, which both incorporates the new low cost GDL substrate and simultaneously is said to deliver additional cost savings.

This development of a lower cost electrode substrate and consolidated MEA supports the market need for a cost reduction in fuel cell systems as a whole, the company rpeorts. Ultimately, making fuel cells a more economically viable green energy source and potentially helping to accelerate market penetration.

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