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Fabric of carbon fibers set to improve fuel-cell performance

By Gerald Ondrey |

Photos: Teijin Group Toho Tenax Co. (Tokyo; www.tohotenax.com), the main company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers business, has commercialized a gas-diffusion layer (GDL) made of carbon fiber fabric for use as an electrode component for fuel cells. GDLs are a key component of the electrode in fuel cells, supplying hydrogen and oxygen while collecting electrons generated and discharging water produced at the membrane. GDLs must be able to conduct electricity and be permeable to water. The fabric-type GDL (photo A) exhibits better flexibility and strength than commonly used paper-type GDLs, which are carbon fiber sheets impregnated with resin or other materials (photo B). With the new fabric structure, roll-to-roll processing can be performed at high speeds, enabling a reduction in user costs. Because resin or other materials are not needed, water permeability can be further improved, thereby enabling higher output of fuel cells, says the company. By creating a uniform textile surface using technologies refined by Toho Tenax, such as spinning, weaving and carbonizing, the carbon-fiber-fabric GDL has a lower contact resistance than conventional fabric-type GDLs. With low contact resistance, further improvements in fuel-cell…
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