Several methods are being attempted to improve the performance of PEM Fuel cell electrodes so that the cost of the overall system can be brought down. The performance can be improved if the utilization of the catalyst in the electrode increases. One of the early successful method was to add a proton conducting polymer, such as NafionR to the catalyst layer. However there is a limit to the amount of NafionR that can be added as too much NafionR affect the gas diffusion. The other method is to increase the surface area of the catalyst used which has also been adequately demonstrated. Alternative methods for providing increased proton conductivity and catalyst utilization are thus of great interest, and a number of them have been investigated in the literature. One method that is being extensively investigated is to introduce the catalyst onto the polymer electrolyte membrane followed by lamination with gas diffusion electrode. In the present work, we have carried out two methods i) screen print the catalyst ink on the NafionR membrane ii) catalyze the NafionR membranes by reducing a suitable platinum salt on the membrane. Standard gas diffusion electrodes were then laminated onto this membrane. The performances of Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) prepared by these routes have been compared with the commercially available Gore catalysed membrane. It was observed that catalysed NafionR membranes show a better performance compared to the catalyst ink screen printed on the NafionR membrane and commercial Gore membrane under identical operating conditions. However MEAs with Gore membrane give a better performance in the iR region compared to the other MEAs prepared using NafionR membrane. The lesser performance with Gore membrane is probably due to the limitations in the lamination method employed.

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