CEA is a research state agency for nuclear energy, employing a staff of 16,000 people. The Research &Technologies Division (DRT) is one of the four operating divisions, whose policy is to meet the needs of partners both in the CEA and in the industry. Within DRT, CEA-LITEN (staff: 550) is a fast growing technological research institute dedicated to new energy technologies (photovoltaic, batteries, H2 and fuel cells) and nano-materials research. In order to support industrial developments in the field of renewable energy, an ambitious research program on electrochemical energy storage was initiated in 1996.
Research focus One of the main topics is dealing with fuel cells, both PEMFC (1997) and SOFC (2000). Within CEA LITEN, the Laboratory of Components for PEM fuel cells, Electrolysis and Modelling (LCPEM) is staffed with 50 employees, among which 11 PhD students. The laboratory covers R&D on PEM materials, MEA manufacturing and durability in close link with modelling, characterization and instrumentation. It aims at developing PEMFC components mainly for transportation applications. The LCPEM is participating to or coordinating several French and European projects dealing with the development of MEA materials and components, performance and durability and cost.
PEM Water Electrolysis CEA LITEN has a long experience in low temperature fuel cells, and led important studies on PEM electrolysis in the 1990s, with associated know-how on materials, fluidics, electrochemistry and cell design. In the fuel cell components laboratory, numerical tools have been developed to couple electrochemistry, material properties and two phase flow thermal-hydraulics in the objective of optimising cell operating conditions and/or design. A lot of experience has been obtained on the understanding of physics involved in fuel cells by the validation of in-house performance numerical models on in-house experimental results. Specific experimental tools have been developed to characterize some main transport properties of materials used inside cell cores, especially thin porous media like GDL and microporous layers (electrical, thermal, fluidic as a function of deformation). All this experience will be of a great interest for the project adapted to porous supports of PEM electrolysers cores.