Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development & Integration of Novel Materials for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Applications(ST9575-1)

General Motors, LLC


Fuel cell technology is used in a variety of applications from small portable systems, to power generators and vehicle applications. Fuel cells use hydrogen as its primary fuel source. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen from air to produce electricity, heat, and water, making it an environmentally-friendly, zero-emissions alternative power generation technology. A fuel cell stack consists of cells connected in series. A PEM (Proton Exchange membrane) fuel cell consists of two bipolar plates, two gas diffusion media, and a membrane electrode assembly consisting of a proton exchange membrane with two catalyst layers. Two key areas of development in this project are related to the gas diffusion medium and catalyst.

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Project Description

This program involves testing and evaluating novel PEM fuel cell materials from three universities at a fuel cell manufacturer, General Motors Fuel Cell Activities. Rochester Institute of Technology will design, fabricate, and debug a PEM fuel cell that has direct visual access to gas distribution channels, then evaluate the gas diffusion medium. University of Rochester shall be responsible for the development of porous catalysts for a hydrogen PEM fuel cell. Cornell University will be responsible for preparation and detailed investigation of catalyst materials. GM, then, will be responsible for the materials, design, fabrication, and the final evaluation of the materials.


Investing in the fundamental knowledge associated with fuel cell technology is critical if New York is to emerge as one of the leading regions in this technology. By growing the fundamental technology capability at Universities and critical industries within New York, the State will strengthen its position as a leading fuel cell center of expertise. As such, it will maintain and grow the technical work force, generating high-tech jobs throughout the State and serving as a launch-pad for product/process engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and sales/service. Building these systems in NY State will drive the need for a Hydrogen infrastructure in NY State, and in turn, bringing more hydrogen applications to the area.

Project Results


General Motors, LLC
30500 Mound Road M/C 480-106-244
Warren, MI 48090

Principle Investigator

Aida Rodrigues

Universities Involved

Rochester Institute of Technology
University of Rochester
Cornell University


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Scott Larsen


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9575-1

Last Updated: 1/18/2011