Frano Babir

Prof. Dr. Frano Barbir (University of Split – Crotia)

Dr. Barbir is Professor and Chair of Thermodynamics at Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Split, Croatia. He has been actively involved in fuel cell technology R&D, engineering and applications since 1989, working in U.S. as a researcher and R&D manager in both industry (Energy Partners, Proton Energy Systems) and universities (University of Miami, University of Connecticut), and in Turkey as the Associate Director of Science and Technology of the UNIDO – International Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies. His research interests include heat and mass transfer in PEM fuel cells, effects of operational conditions on fuel cell performance and durability, design of fuel cells and fuel cell stacks and systems, fuel cell applications, and hydrogen energy concept and its role in context of energy future. He has authored and/or co-authored more than 200 papers on hydrogen and fuel cells published in scientific and technical journals, books, encyclopedias, and conference proceedings, as well as 7 U.S. patents on various aspects fuel cell stack and system design and operation. His book, PEM Fuel Cells: Theory and Practice, published by Elsevier/Academic Press in 2005 (2nd edition came out in 2013), is being used as a textbook at many universities all over the world. He is the Emeritus Editor of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (after serving for 13 years as the Associate Editor), and he serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Hydrogen Energy. Prof. Barbir holds a Dipl.-Ing. degree in mechanical engineering and an M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering both from University of Zagreb, Croatia, and a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

TOPIC: Status of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technologies and Their Role in Future Energy System

Although the operating principle of fuel cells was discovered in XIX century, their intensive development takes place during the last 20 years. Based on the type of electrolyte there are several types of fuel cells, but the most developed are so called Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. In this presentation development of PEM fuel cells and their components (membranes, catalysts, bipolar plates, flow fields) and their applications is presented. Besides development of materials for above listed components, research and development activities include investigations of performance degradation with time, modeling of processes inside a fuel cell (electrochemical reactions, heat and mass transport, proton conduction, fluid flow, etc.) and development of advanced diagnostic methods for better understanding of the key processes inside a fuel cell as well as for operation control purposes.

Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have great potential to contribute to addressing the energy, environmental and economic challenges that are facing the world. Transition to an energy system based on renewable energy has already begun. A future energy system based solely on renewable energy sources will be depicted, and the role of hydrogen and fuel cells in such a system will be discussed. Hydrogen and fuel cells allow renewable energy technology to be applied to transport as well as facilitate distributed power generation, while helping to cope with the variable power and intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.