Carbon nanofibers are being investigated by Grupo Antolin for their potential to improve the efficiency, durability, and cost-effectiveness of critical components in next-generation hydrogen fuel cells.
The company wants to help develop a key technology that will make electric mobility more cost-effective, efficient, and accessible, thereby assisting in the advancement of sustainable mobility.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, along with electric battery vehicles, are touted as excellent alternatives to fossil-fueled vehicles. A technology that is gaining popularity due to its potential for long-term viability. Except for high purity water, it produces no exhaust emissions, allows for faster refueling than fossil fuels, and achieves similar range levels.
Grupo Antolin has been developing processes to produce carbon nanofibers with optimized properties for various industrial applications in sectors such as aeronautics, textiles, chemical, electronics, and automotive as part of its innovation lines for years. As a result of these efforts, nanofibers with excellent electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and specific surface area have been created, making this material ideal for use in electrodes of electrochemical cells that make up hydrogen fuel cell systems.
Carbon nanofibers act as a physical support for platinum nanoparticles, which act as a catalyst for certain chemical reactions in this application. Nanofibers’ properties allow for a reduction in the amount of platinum required, as well as a significant improvement in the electrodes’ durability and overall system efficiency.
Because of their high power density and operating range, Polymeric Electrolyte Protonic Exchange Membranes (PEMFC)-based hydrogen fuel cells have the most potential among the various types of hydrogen fuel cells developed so far for automotive. MEA refers to the set of electrodes and the polymeric membrane that separates them in each cell in this type of system (Membrane Electrode Assembly). MEA is a critical component of the system because the fuel cell’s final performance is largely determined by its design and architecture.
In order to modify the surface properties of nanofibers and optimize processing technology to generate MEA systems, the company is currently advancing this line of research in collaboration with several national and European institutes and universities.
These projects are part of Grupo Antolin’s Strategic Commitment to contribute to the development of sustainable mobility through research and development in both processes and products. The company aspires to be a model for environmental stewardship and contribution to the transition to a low-carbon economy in the automotive industry.