Abstract Porous conducting carbon paper with its unique combination of properties acts as the backing material of electrode in a fuel cell. It not only assists in the flow of electrons and reactant gases but also acts as an effective support for the electrolyte and the catalyst layer. The electrically conducting porous carbon paper was prepared by adopting a modified process of preparation which involves molding together several carbon fiber preforms in the form of laminates rather than a single preform. The method was found to influence the characteristics of the paper significantly and resulted in improved performance of the unit fuel cell employing the laminated paper as electrode. The I– V performance of the fuel cell using carbon paper formed by molding single ply showed a peak power density of 573 mW/cm 2 as compared to that of 722 mW/cm 2 for three ply laminates, a value very close to that of achieved by using Toray (Japan) carbon paper (782 mW/cm 2) under identical operating conditions.