K. Morioka* & K. Sugiura

Department of Technological Systems, Mechanical Engineering Course, Osaka Prefecture University College of Technology, Neyagawa, Osaka 5728572, Japan

*Corresponding Author Email: f18022@osaka-pct.ac.jp

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

This paper proposes a new catalyst layer manufacturing method using the inkjet coating printer and evaluates the effectiveness of membrane electrode assembly (MEA) used for Polymer Electrode Fuel Cell (PEFC) made by the inkjet coating printer. Generally, the catalyst slurry for the doctor blade method of the high viscosity was not able to be applied to the inkjet printer directly. Therefore, the catalyst ink of the appropriate viscosity for the inkjet coating printer was made by adding the solvent to this slurry. Moreover, because this catalyst ink has a low viscosity, we also enhanced the dispersibility of Pt using ultrasonic wave crusher and vacuum stirrer mill. As a result, the catalyst layer was formed uniformly by the inkjet printer using this new catalyst ink. Moreover, the cell performance of a new type MEA made by inkjet coating printer was better than a conventional MEA made by the doctor blade method. Also, the thickness of catalyst layer of the new type MEA became 1/6 compared to conventional one. On the other hand, we also evaluated the influence of a pinhole defect on the cell performance. As a result, the cell performance of the new type MEA with pinhole defects deteriorated in a low current density region under the drying operating condition which means a room temperature of the cell temperature and non-humidifying. However, because the drying of the membrane was controlled by collecting excess water in these pinholes in a high current density region, the cell performance was enhanced compared with a conventional MEA. From these results, it was confirmed that the ink jet coating method for a MEA manufacturing process is effectiveness as an initial performance of PEFC. Moreover, we will evaluate the durability and repeatability of MEA made by the ink jet coating method to prove the effectiveness of this method.