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Innovative Faculty/Student Research in Mechanical Engineering Advances Green Hydrogen Production

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Sagil James, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Cal State Fullerton, and graduate student William Andrew Hindson recently published a research paper, “Effects of surface modification on a proton exchange membrane for improvements in green hydrogen production.” This significant research contribution, featured in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, unveils promising insights into enhancing the efficiency of hydrogen production through Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis.

The joint effort by James and Hindson addresses critical challenges faced by PEM electrolysis, a technique known for its efficiency and environmental friendliness in hydrogen production. The research underscores the importance of the platinum catalyst on the membrane surface, aiming to overcome limitations associated with the high cost of materials for the membrane and catalysts.

Key findings from the research include the use of patterned membranes, co-developed by James and Hindson, which reshape PEM electrolysis for greener and more economical hydrogen production. These patterned membranes demonstrate improved catalyst retention at a molecular level and yield up to 9% more green hydrogen compared to conventionally roughened membranes.

The study not only signifies a step forward in advancing green hydrogen production but also has the potential to enhance efficiency at commercial levels. This collaborative and innovative approach to surface modification opens new avenues for the application of PEM electrolytic cells in large-scale systems.

The research paper, available under a Creative Commons license as an open-access publication, can be accessed through the DOI:

As Cal State Fullerton continues to be at the forefront of cutting-edge research, this collaborative work exemplifies the university’s commitment to making impactful contributions to sustainable technology. Please read recent article on: Cal State Fullerton Students Learn Green Manufacturing Methods for a Sustainable Future

For further information or inquiries, please contact James at

Sagil James