Queen's University

Nickel-Based Fuel Cells-Refreshing Old Technologies for New Applications

We are part of a collaborative effort supported by an NSERC Discovery Frontiers grant involving that aims to to create affordable, alkaline fuel cells for the production of energy; develop new technologies for hydrogen-based energy storage; and transform glycerol into value-added chemicals that will make biodiesel production cheaper and greener. While alkaline fuel cells have been used for a long time (for instance, these fuel cells were used in the Apollo missions), this research program is is focused on developing nickel materials that will be used in new alkaline fuel cell technologies that will assist Canada in transitioning to the hydrogen economy.

This research area involves 14 Canadian researchers, seven universities (Queen’s University, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, INRS Université de Recherche, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and McMaster University), nine international researchers from seven countries, and a number of industry partners. This group’s expertise covers a wide a range of research areas, with groups performing computational chemistry, materials science, polymer engineering, and fuel cell design and fabrication.

Our efforts in this area are focused on using quantum chemical calculations, particularly density functional theory and tight-binding density functional theory, to develop a better understanding of the electrochemical properties of nanoclusters composed of Ni-based materials and to study the features of polymer membranes used in alkaline fuel cells.