Welcome to Fuel Cells and Applied Electrochemistry Lab

Elod Gyenge

Professor / inaugural holder of the Elizabeth and Leslie Gould Teaching Professorship

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

email: egyenge@chbe.ubc.ca

Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 2001
M.A.Sc., University of British Columbia, 1995
M.Eng., University Babes-Bolyai, Cluj, Romania, 1990

In our lab we are all students of electrochemistry, trying to understand and/or apply various phenomena associated with the ‘movers and shakers' of electrons at interfaces to develop improved sources of power (such as fuel cells) and find better ways of synthesizing chemicals (i.e. electrosynthesis).

Our present research is in the area of fuel cells generally focused on catalyst layer engineering with emphasis mostly on so-called direct fuel cells utilizing alcohols (e.g., methanol, ethanol) and borohydrides. Please check out the Research Page for more specific information.

An often cited quote – certainly valid for electrochemical science and engineering as well – if today we are able to see farther ahead it is only because we stand on the shoulders of giants:

Alessandro Volta – first scientific discovery of an electrochemical power source: Zn/air battery (virtually all of the principles incorporated in Volta's pile are used today in batteries and fuel cells, e.g. air cathode, stacking with bipolar plates, separator).

Michael Faraday – the basic law of electrochemical transformation, electrolysis experiments, first synthesis of nanoparticles (i.e. Au) (Nanoparticles are intensly researched today for a range of applications, including catalysis/electrocatalysis).

William Grove – discovery of the H2-O2 fuel cell

Gaston Planté – discovery of the lead-acid battery

Walter Nernst – thermodynamic analysis of electrochemical systems, experiments with solid oxide ionic conduction (very important today for solid oxide fuel cells)

Max Volmer – nucleation phenomena, mechanism of hydrogen evolution and electrode kinetics

Tibor Erdey-Grúz – the fundamental equation of electrode kinetics (developed as part of his doctoral work supervised by Prof. M. Volmer), transport in electrolyte solutions

Alexander Frumkin – double layer effects and electrode kinetics, huge amount of experimental work in electrode kinetics and development of new techniques (e.g. rotating disk and ring-disk electrodes with V. Levich and collaborators)

John O'M. Bockris – seminal work in virtually every sub-field of electrochemistry (e.g. O2 reduction, methanol oxidation, corrosion, semiconducting electrodes, bioelectrochemistry, waste treatment by electrochemical methods, H2 economy), author and editor of fantastic treatise (see for example ‘Modern Aspects of Electrochemistry').

Francis Bacon – leading the fuel cell R&D through times when few were interested and convincing NASA to use fuel cells on board of space shuttles

Brian Conway – groundbreaking work in both fundamental and applied electrochemistry

Martin Fleischmann – many pioneering contributions to applied electrochemistry and electrochemical reactors (e.g. fixed and fluidized beds)

Norbert Ibl and Charles Tobias – introducing engineering approaches for the analysis of electrochemical phenomena (e.g. mass transfer effects at electrodes, current distribution) and establishing electrochemical engineering