A High-Power Density Fuel Cell Stack
75055-Conventional fuel cells, based on either a strip cell design or a bipolar plate design, have limitations in the trade-off between weight and power ¿ i.e., high power is obtained by adding weight. However, portable power applications will require that the fuel cell provide sufficient power to an external device, yet be light enough to be carried around by a consumer. This project will develop a high-power-density 20W fuel cell system, based on combined mixed reactant technology, for use by the general public. The design eliminates the use of heavy bipolar plates, mixes the fuel and oxidant together, and uses reactant-specific electrodes. Phase I will develop a flow-through stack design, culminating in the fabrication of a 20W stack that does not use a liquid electrolyte. The design will incorporate porous anodes, cathodes, and proton-exchange membranes. Reactant-specific catalysts will be identified and evaluated under a wide range of operating conditions. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Portable fuel cells could be used to power consumer devices such as cell phones, personal data assistants, laptop computers, and camping equipment, providing extended running time not available from batteries. The military also could benefit from high power density fuel cells because individual soldiers are being asked to carry more electronic equipment.
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