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About Brookhaven National Laboratory

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is working to solve grand challenges in energy, the origins of matter, computing and national security. We have a strong focus within energy on materials for the electric grid and geothermal systems, energy storage, and photovoltaics, as well as fuel cells catalysts and renewable resource planning.

Located on Long Island in New York State, Brookhaven Lab is a significant source of scientific and engineering development for the state and the Northeast United States. We are also a significant employer and regional economic driver, accounting for more than $678M in economic activity and 5000+ jobs.


PEM Fuel Cell and Electrolyzer Components

Significant barriers remain to the large scale deployment of low temperature fuel cells and electrolyzers. Addressing the cost and performance of electrocatalysts can overcome many of the barriers to adoption of PEM Fuel Cell systems.

Brookhaven Lab scientists are working in three key areas to address these challenges.

  • Advanced Electrocatalysts — Brookhaven scientists have pioneered nanostructured core-shell electrocatalysts that offer up to a 10-fold reduction in platinum content with high activity and improved durability for applications in hydrogen and direct alcohol fuel cells and water electrolyzers.
  • Membrane electrode assemblies — Novel electrodeposition fabrication methods have been developed that allow incorporation of core-shell electrocatalysts for novel designs of high-performance membrane electrode assemblies.
  • Advanced characterization — Brookhaven Lab's unique user facilities, especially the National Synchrotron Light Source II and Center for Functional Nanomaterials, provide the capability for extensive characterization of both materials and devices/subsystems for fuel cell systems.

Brookhaven staff have experience in designs and adapting these fuel cell systems for automotive and transportation applications.


Brookhaven Lab operates several energy-focused state-of-the-art scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Through partnership with more than 3000 annual visiting scientists and industry partners we create, characterize, understand, and exploit nanomaterials under real working conditions to address national energy needs.

The National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) is one of the most advanced tools for discovery-class science that ultimately will enhance national and energy security and help drive abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies. NSLS-II offers scientists from academia and industry the tools to make major advances in materials that will enable new energy technologies such as nanocatalyst-based fuel cells, solar energy, high temperature superconductors, electrical storage systems, and more.

The Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) explores unique material properties and nanoscale processes. The CFN is a user-oriented research center whose mission is to be an open facility for the nanoscience research community and advance nanoscience in a way that address the nation's energy challenges. CFN hosts a broad range of nanoscience research in such diverse fields as efficient catalysts, fuel cell chemistries and architectures, and photovoltaic components.

The Northeast Solar Energy Research Center (NSERC) being built on-site will serve as a solar energy research and test facility. It will include laboratories for standardized testing, a solar PV research array for field testing existing or innovative new technologies under actual northeastern weather conditions, and access to data from the 32-MW Long Island Solar Farm located at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Photo of three hydrogen fuel cell cylinders lined up in a row. Part of the fuel cell is clear and show the clear liquid in the center.