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Fuel Cell Materials from ESL ElectroScience

The demand for renewable energy has in itself created a need for high-performance materials, and ESL is a major supplier of thick-film pastes for photovoltaic solar-energy cells, plus a variety of other applications. A global presence, including manufacturing facilities in the USA and Europe (both are ISO 9001), allows ESL to supply high-volume and specialty materials, supported by an engineering presence in three continents. A well-established and fully confidential ESL service involves the conversion of powders, supplied by customers, into screen-printable pastes and ceramic tapes with a quick turn around. ESL is now a leading supplier of materials for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), including screen-printable inks or pastes and ceramic tapes, and now fired parts such as porous alumina or zirconia cover plates, membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), yttria or scandia stabilized zirconia electrolyte substrates, and both anode-supported and electrolyte-supported cells.

ESL Fuel Cell Capabilities

Fuel Cell Materials

Bi-layer and Cell Preparation

Materials preparation
Screen-printable pastes
Dispensable pastes
Ceramic tapes
Porous alumina & zirconia cover plates
Fired YSZ and ScSZ electrolyte substrates
Anode-supported and electrolyte-supported cells
Membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs)
Screen-printing parts

Bi-layer and cell firing

Materials Characterization

Continuous belt furnace
Box furnace
Green and fired tape
Screen-printed samples


As all fuel cells require electrode and electrolyte layers and interconnects, thick-film and tape-cast materials are finding use in many commercial projects. ESL contributes its long experience in the design and development of advanced materials to its customers’ projects, as they move from laboratory through pilot scale to high-volume manufacturing. This can include supply of off-the-shelf products, joint development of unique solutions, and the introduction of low-cost manufacturability to customers’ own proprietary formulations.

The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), as an example, is considered to be the preferred technology for generating electricity from hydrocarbon fuels. This is because the SOFC is efficient, tolerant to impurities, and can at least partially internally reform hydrocarbon fuels. However, as the SOFC runs at temperatures of 700 - 1,000 °C, the material challenges are daunting. The following are some examples of materials that are available from ESL, or can be fabricated to customer-proprietary formulations.

Screen-Printable Pastes



Porosity Formers



nickel oxide,
ceria cermet,
transition metal
transition metal
metal & metal
oxide catalysts
fugitives such as starch, carbon, or thermosetting resins
vitreous glass, crystallizing glass,
silver alloys,
doped LaCrO3,
high-temperature alloys



Anode & Cathode


yttria & scandia stabilized zirconia,
doped gallates,
doped bismuth oxide,
stabilized ceria
LSM, etc.
vitreous glass,
crystallizing glass,
compression (mica)

ESL can also manufacture customers' proprietary formulations, including green or fired laminates, porous cover plates, YSZ or ScSZ electrolyte substrates, etc.

With ESL’s experience in thick-film and tape-casting technology, in an ISO 9001 environment, formulations and procedures are designed for scaleable manufacturability. Incoming raw material sources are identified and approved for consistency, the paste and tape manufacturing processes are set up for maximum reproducibility and control, and products are tested and shipped to specifications that are designed to meet the application needs. ESL works with many major companies globally in absolute confidentiality.

This Fuel Cell Product Spotlight summarizes ESL’s capabilities. Details on many of the products included here and other materials can be found in Applications and Products on this web site. Please do not hesitate to contact ESL for further details on ESL fuel cell materials.