Nature-inspired fuel cells

In this project, the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering will design, construct and test a lung-inspired fuel cell with globally optimized, hierarchical structure from nanomaterial to device level.

The lung-inspired architecture combines attractive features that will be translated to fuel cell design:

  • an ability to bridge length scales, and easily scale-up – irrespective of size – while preserving microscopic function (cells in the lung, active sites in catalysis)
  • realizing uniform distribution and collection of various species (molecular, ionic) and heat
  • minimizing transport resistance and thermodynamic losses, thanks to optimized dimensioning of the hierarchical channel size distribution, for specific technical requirements
  • increased adaptability and durability

Researchers: Jason Cho, Toby Neville and Panos Trogadas.


  1. P. Trogadas, O.O. Taiwo, B. Tjaden, T.P. Neville, S. Yun, J. Parrondo, V. Ramani, M.-O Coppens, D.J.L. Brett, and P.R. Shearing,
    "X-ray micro-tomography as a diagnostic tool for the electrode degradation in vanadium redox flow batteries",
    Electrochem. Commun., 2014, 48, 155.
    [Link] (Open access)
  2. J. Marquis and M.-O. Coppens,
    "Achieving ultra-high platinum utilization via optimization of PEM fuel cell cathode catalyst layer microstructure"
    Chem. Eng. Sci.
    , 2013, 102, 151.
    (Open access)
  3. S. Kjelstrup, M.-O. Coppens, J. Pharoah, and P. Pfeifer,
    "Nature-inspired energy and material efficient design of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell"
    Energy and Fuels
    , 2010, 24(9), 5097. (ASAP article, cited in New Scientist , Green Car Congress and several other forums on the Web)

Nature-inspired fuel cells