Recent advances and future perspectives of carbon materials for fuel cell

Nazmus Saadat, Hom N. Dhakal, Jimi Tjong, Shaffiq Jaffer, Weimin Yang, Mohini Sain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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Fuel cells in the near future are going to challenge the recent strong progress of the battery-based energy system. Despite many challenges, including material composition, storage and distribution, hydrogen fuel cell has demonstrated its potential in the trucking and fleet transportation systems due to its ability to be safely transported and used resulting in sharp drop in CO2 and particulate emissions. Review works revealed that Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) technology is reaching a commercialization phase for the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Study further disclosed the need for a more focused investigation into materials' properties and plate design to enhance the efficacy of composite bipolar plates (BPP), specially their electrical and mechanical properties, as one of the main components of PEMFC. Carbon fiber, expanded graphite and carbon nanotubes are promising functional materials that can be utilized to enhance the performance of bipolar plates further by addressing their critical challenges such as agglomeration and poor thermodynamic compatibility. Conductive polymer embedded carbon nanomaterials showed high promise to improve the performance of PEMFC. Herein, the critical parameters affecting the introduction of carbon materials in fuel cell components are discussed with a focus on electrical, mechanical and durability performance of BPP. Recommendations are made related to cost vs performance for future development. This paper has also outlined the scope and future perspectives to fuel cell technology by reviewing the areas of recent developments with carbon-polymer based BPP as an attempt to highlight their potential commercial applications as high-performance bipolar plates for PEMFC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110535
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date10 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Bipolar plates
  • Carbon materials
  • Carbon polymer composites
  • Electrical attributes
  • Mechanical strength
  • Proton exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Renewable energy


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