This research area focuses on the study of devices which generate electricity directly through the oxidation of fuel.
This research area focuses on the study of devices which generate electricity directly through the oxidation of fuel. It includes materials, fabrication, fuel development and testing for these devices, plus studies in modelling and degradation and any related socio-economic and environmental issues.
Fuel Cell Technology is not currently a high priority for government or industry and has a comparatively lower impact than other technologies on the UK’s ability to reach its ambitious 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets.
EPSRC will, however, support many significant research challenges which fall within related research areas and themes, for example:
- fundamental materials improvements through Materials for energy applications or Electrochemical sciences
- improvements to production and quality control within Manufacturing the future.
These will be key to future advances and potential of the fuel cell as a device.
Within the fuel cell technology research area
We would encourage projects linking to and supporting these other areas, for example:
- modelling and analysis for scaling-up manufacturing and ensuring quality control
- research into fuel cells’ degradation and operating characteristics to help commercialisation and use of the technology.
We will also encourage applications at the interfaces of fuel cell technology with other research areas, in particular:
- Hydrogen and alternative energy vectors
- Materials for energy applications
- Electrochemical sciences
- Energy storage.
We will give consideration to fuel cells’ role in future models of domestic heat and power, transport and freight and hydrogen-based economies, and to the research demands posed by these evolving models. Fuel cell research will also feed directly into policy discussion on future energy scenarios.
Specific research challenges will be determined by the areas where fuel cells are shown to be commercially viable.
If fuel cells are to be a viable and widely used technology, sustainability of production, recycling and disposal must be considered. Alternatives to precious metal catalysts are to be sought at the materials level.
As fuel cells may be nearing a point of commercial viability, it will be sensible to maintain a population and pipeline of trained specialists in this area.
We aim to maintain core capability to ensure that we are ready for any commercial progress that may occur.
We also aim to encourage researchers to consider related research areas to take forward innovations in materials, production and quality control.