Fuel Cells are electrochemical cells that generate both heat and electricity from clean hydrogen fuel, leaving only clean, liquid water as a byproduct. As a zero emission energy technology
based on renewable fuel, it holds promise as a solution to the world’s energy problems in transportation and power generation.

At the heart of the fuel cell, a component called a gas diffusion layer (GDL) conveys gases into the cell, transports water out of the cell, while conducting electricity within the fuel cell. It is a carefully engineered component that can have a dramatic influence on performance, and can make or break the stability of fuel cell operation.

AvCarb products are used in a wide variety of fuel cell types, including:

• Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, both high temperature and low temperature
• Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFC)
• Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)

Fuel Cell developers must overcome both cost and technical barriers to replace conventional energy technologies such as lead acid batteries with its clean energy technology. AvCarb® Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) products are helping Ballard overcome these barriers and advance fuel cell commercialization.

A GDL is a thin, flat porous carbon material, often treated with PTFE for water repellency, and often coated with micro-porous carbon layers to increase conductivity. A GDL is a critical fuel cell component, facilitating the transport of gases, liquids, and electricity within the fuel cell. Our products have been developed to meet these demanding requirements for fuel cell manufacturers around the world.

By combining Ballard’s fuel cell expertise with the materials and manufacturing expertise of engineers, a full line of high performance, low cost GDL products has been developed. Today, GDL products can be found in thousands of Ballard fuel cell stacks around the world, in both stationary and transportation applications.

To support production volumes, GDL manufacturing is done on high-volume manufacturing equipment, in our Lowell, MA facility. Through continuous process improvement, GDL costs have been reduced 70% since 2009. At the same time the consistency and quality of the material improved, providing consistent and predictable fuel cell performance, not just for Ballard, but for the many GDL customers worldwide.

We have invested millions in the improvement of this technology, and the end result is a wide portfolio of products, used in volume by fuel cell manufacturers worldwide. Click here to learn more about our fuel cell GDL products.