Energy How Fuel-Cell Membranes Are Made A new process increases the energy output of methanol fuel cells by 50 percent. by Kristina Grifantini October 20, 2008 Sponsored by When the membrane is finished, a researcher gently peels it off and cuts it to size for testing. A researcher sets the membrane in a device that can measure resistance and places it in a humidity chamber. In the chamber, tests are carried out to determine how efficiently protons can pass through the membrane. If the membrane conducts protons well, a researcher prepares to test it in a fuel cell, placing it between two small, black, circular electrodes. A hot press is then used to seal them inside a square insulating gasket. The researcher puts the membrane-electrode assembly in a fuel cell, between two graphite blocks. The blocks contain small channels that distribute methanol and air through the cell. Hammond’s team then measures the fuel cell’s efficiency under various conditions.