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Graham Smith

Graham Smith

Principal scientist

Graham leads the Electrochemistry Group’s work on electrochemical hydrogen technologies and more broadly coordinates NPL’s ‘Metrology for Clean Hydrogen Energy’ activities. His research focuses on developing high-quality measurements to support the global industrial and academic effort towards better electrochemical energy technologies.

Areas of interest

Graham has a keen interest in metrology for clean hydrogen technologies of any degree of maturity with experience spanning the value chain from materials to device. His principal interests include:

  • Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
  • Water electrolysers of all types, including alkaline, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and anion exchange membrane (AEM)
  • Other electrochemical clean hydrogen technologies
  • Novel redox flow batteries

Graham’s current projects include:

  • Testing all types of low-temperature fuel cells and electrolysers, from single cells to short stacks.
  • Evaluating the impact of impurities in hydrogen fuel and water feedstock on the performance and lifetime of fuel cells and electrolysers, respectively.
  • Developing novel in situ characterisation techniques for fuel cells and electrolysers.
  • Creating accelerated laboratory tests to mimic real-life operation accurately.

The immediate societal need for low carbon energy sources, and recent rapid improvements in materials, mean that electrolysers and fuel cells are being developed and deployed faster than ever. Fuel cells are uniquely qualified to electrify vehicles with very large energy requirements (including ships, trains, planes, and goods vehicles) while electrolysers have a proven capability to convert intermittent electrical energy to hydrogen gas for later use. Graham is interested in all industrial and academic collaborations in hydrogen technologies, including those technologies not listed here, and is happy to chat to hydrogen veterans or those considering a green hydrogen project for the first time.


After an MSci and PhD at Imperial College London, Graham carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Southampton and the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining NPL, Graham worked as a researcher in the New Energy Solutions Group at SINTEF (Norway).

Selected Publications

1. “Assessing potential profiles in water electrolysers to minimise titanium use, H. Becker, E.J.F. Dickinson, X. Lu, U. Bexell, S. Proch, C. Moffatt, M. Stenström, G. Smith, G. Hinds, Energy Environ. Sci. 15, 2508-2518 (2022).”

2. Operando characterisation of the impact of carbon monoxide on PEMFC performance using isotopic labelling and gas analysis, H. Becker, T. Bacquart, M. Perkins, N. Moore, J. Ihonen, G. Hinds, G. Smith, J. Power Sources Advances 6, 100036 (2020)

3. Modelling the Proton-Conductive Membrane in Practical Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) Simulation: A Review, E.J.F. Dickinson, G. Smith, Membranes 10, 310 (2020)

4. Electronic metal-support interaction enhanced oxygen reduction activity and stability of boron carbide supported platinum, C. Jackson, G.T. Smith, et al., Nature Commun. 8, 15802 (2017)

5. Thin solid state reference electrodes for use in solid polymer electrolytes, G. Smith, C.M. Zalitis, A.R.J. Kucernak, Electrochem. Commun. 43, 43-46 (2014)

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