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Green Energy Center-Materials Laboratory

Affiliated with the State Key Laboratory of Engines (Tianjin University),  the Green Energy Center-Materials Laboratory focuses on the research and development of highly effective fuel cells. It is a cross-disciplinary research platform for materials, chemical industry, and mass and heat transfer, involving design and synthesis of high-performance polymer electrolyte membranes, membrane electrode preparation technologies and fuel cell hydro-thermal management.

Photo of Group members at Green Energy Lab

Founded at the end of 2015, the laboratory has been equipped with a full set of equipment for the synthesis and characterization of fuel cell related materials. It supports research about microscopic morphology, electrochemical behavior, rheological behavior, physical and chemical properties, and mechanical properties. In addition, it has equipment for small-scale membrane electrode fabrication and single-cell fuel cell performance testing device, which are necessary for comprehensive study on fuel cell characteristics.

The single cell tested. The test device is used to monitor its temperature, gas flow, and humidity in real time.

A researcher is carefully weighing the raw materials used for PIM membrane. PIM is a dioxane-structured polymer produced by reacting aromatic tetraol monomers with fluorinated compounds, which is widely used in studies on gas separation and ion exchange membranes for its excellent properties.

A student is carefully observing the form of the casting solution for film formation. The properties of PIM in the formation of casting solutions in different solvents are quite different, so it is necessary to explore the best casting solution conditions.

This is a PIM film which has just been prepared. Repeated tests are needed to test the swelling of the film in water to avoid impairing the mechanical properties and ion exchange performance of the membrane in the event that membrane material used in the field of ion exchange requires a smaller degree of swelling.

This is the final form of the PIM membrane after drying. PIM can produce thinner films, which can be used as selective layers of gas separation membranes in the gas separation domain. In accordance with the latest research results, this PIM film is the best polymer film material so far in terms of permeation flux and selective comprehensive performance.

The laboratory is led by Michael D. Guiver, an internationally renowned scholar in the field of membranes as well as one of the National Thousand Talents Program Professors. Currently, members of this laboratory includes 3 teachers, 1 postdoctoral fellow, and several doctoral and master’s degree students. After several years of development, the laboratory has taken shape and is on its way to a high-level scientific research and academic exchange platform with significant influence in the field of fuel cells both at home and abroad.

Prof. Michael D. Guiver is explaining the precautions of experimental safety and laboratory safety to two members of his research group.

Prof. Michael D. Guiver is instructing a student to conduct fuel cell performance test experiments.

This is a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) platform.

Prof. Michael D. Guiver is instructing students to use the mask-free exposure machine, a machine that transfers image information on a film or other transparent body to a surface coated with a photosensitive substance by turning on a certain wavelength of ultraviolet light.

By Lin Ruoqiong

Editors: Yin Wei & Doris Harrington