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Multi-functional anodes boost the transient power and durability of proton exchange membrane fuel cells.


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells have been regarded as the most promising candidate for fuel cell vehicles and tools. Their broader adaption, however, has been impeded by cost and lifetime. By integrating a thin layer of tungsten oxide within the anode, which serves as a rapid-response hydrogen reservoir, oxygen scavenger, sensor for power demand, and regulator for hydrogen-disassociation reaction, we herein report proton exchange membrane fuel cells with significantly enhanced power performance for transient operation and low humidified conditions, as well as improved durability against adverse operating conditions. Meanwhile, the enhanced power performance minimizes the use of auxiliary energy-storage systems and reduces costs. Scale fabrication of such devices can be readily achieved based on the current fabrication techniques with negligible extra expense. This work provides proton exchange membrane fuel cells with enhanced power performance, improved durability, prolonged lifetime, and reduced cost for automotive and other applications.

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