Research & Development
Dr Carton’s research to date through his PhD and postdoctoral studies has focused on three key technical areas of research in regenerative fuel cells that use advanced functional materials:
- Low cost anode & cathode bi-functional electro-catalyst synthesis and characterisation
- Support material / flow plate optimisation and characterisation
- Electro-catalyst and support fabrication method optimisation
Dr Carton’s team have successfully replaced bulky, heavy machined flow plates in fuel cells and electrolysers with a thin porous foam material, incorporating all the requirements of traditional flow plates and gas diffusion layers in one preformed layer. This low cost metallic foam material, with its large surface area and open structure allow better gas transport in each cell of the stack, allowing for the elimination and redesign of many incumbent structures of conventional cells. This material facilitates a continuous “roll to roll” manufacturing methodology that will leverage existing polymer and rolled manufacturing approaches, which presently accounts for about 30% of the manufacturing cost of existing approaches.
Climate Change: Engineering is evolving and sustainability has become the forefront of technology development, manufacturing processes, and innovative design, to help combat Climate Change. Further policy developments and application of new more efficient cleaner technology such as renewable solar and wind energy sources must be promoted.
Energy Storage: Hydrogen gas (H2) has excellent characteristics as an industrial chemical, as an energy carrier and as an energy store. In particular, Water Electrolysis using excess (renewable) electricity (Power-to-Gas) is a viable solution for conversion and storage of excess electrical energy for later use. H2 has value as a standalone chemical, can be directly injected to the gas grid and is a precursor in processes to produce bio-methane from BioWaste or directly from CO2.
Fuel Cells: This is a technology that in less than 50 years the next generation will take for granted. Fuel cells are energy conversion devices that produce electricity, electrochemically, from a catalytic aided reaction of a fuel with air. Fuel cells offer a promising alternative to traditional power sources, achieving power generation with high efficiency and low environmental impact, suitable for electric transport and energy storage applications.