Fuel cells are devices that allow conversion of the chemical potential of a fuel and oxidant to produce electricity. A key component of a fuel cell is the catalyst layer, which facilitates the electrochemical reaction and where transport of reactants, charge, and byproduct heat and water take place. The structure and morphology of the catalyst layer determine its effectiveness and, in turn, strongly impact the overall performance and cost of a fuel cell. This paper discusses two central issue related to catalyst layers involving two-phase flow: liquid water transport in the catalyst layer during fuel cell operation, and fabrication of the catalyst layer from colloidal inks where a process of particle agglomeration takes place and eventually determines the final catalyst layer structure. Insight into these two issues are obtained using lattice-Botzmann based multi-phase simulations with formulations tailored to deal with features including high density ratio gas-liquid flow in complex porous media, and particle-particle and particle-hydrodynamic interactions.

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