Research in the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Laboratory at University of British Columbia under supervision of Dr. Mina Hoorfar is directed toward further theoretical and experimental advancement of surface science and its application to fuel cell technologies. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells have drawn much attention in the last decade as a high-efficiency and low-emission source of energy. However, the performance and cost of the PEM fuel cells must be improved significantly before they can constitute a viable market. One of the major problems of the current PEM fuel cells is water management; the ionic conductivity of the electrolyte is dependent on the hydration level of the membrane whereas excessive water vapor condensation forms micro-droplets that block the access of the reactant gas to the reaction site. Typically, this is the origin of the limiting current for the PEM fuel cells. Research involves the study of droplet formation and liquid transport in the internal network of the PEM fuel cell. Under this research program, novel theoretical and experimental methodologies are developed for measuring the surface properties of different components of the PEM fuel cell. This work results in a better understanding of liquid water transport and the enhancement of water management in the PEM fuel cells at large.
Dr. Mina Hoorfar
Office: EME 4257
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