MAMA-MEA – Mass manufacture of MEAs using high-speed deposition processes
A MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) is the core component for the chemical reaction within low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells (FC). The MEA contains catalytic ingredients that split hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons. The protons recombine with oxygen to water, while the electrons drive an electric circuit. The PEM FC is e.g. used to drive vehicles or to enable off-the-grid electricity.
For powering a passenger car, a stack of about 400 PEM FCs generating about 110 kW is employed. The active PEM area of one stack to operate one car is in the order of 30 m². Targeting to manufacture just 1000 cars will require 30,000 m² of MEA – a size equivalent to five soccer fields. To produce such large areas of functional MEAs an effective manufacturing approach is mandatory.
MAMA-MEA is funded from the FCH JU and the European Union’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 779591. The partners INEA, JMFC, Nedstack, System Group, Chemnitz University of Technology, UNIMORE and Fraunhofer ENAS began to evaluate existing printing and coating technologies for their potential to enable the mass manufacturing of MEAs in 2018. By employing printing and coating technologies, the manufacturing workflow will be changed to generate a larger output volume compared to state-of-the-art workflows.
For quickly generating large areas of homogenous functional layers, slot-die coating is employed. Another technology under investigation is inkjet printing which has the advantages of being digitally driven and contact-free. Fraunhofer ENAS is supporting the project with inkjet printing experience and machinery.