Kenneth Smith, a University of Wisconsin-Stout Discovery Center research associate who works on fuel cell design, will receive the 2012 WiSys Innovation Scholar Award.
Smith’s research is focused on developing better polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. PEM fuel cells transform chemical energy from a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy.
Smith has come up with an innovative approach to address problems in existing PEM fuel cells related to loss of efficiency and the need for costly control mechanisms to maintain pressure balances. Smith’s innovation reduces costs and makes the fuel cells more efficient by using a diaphragm inside the cells to eliminate the need for complex gas flow regulation.