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High Performance Robust Lightweight Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
Phone: (409) 693-0017
At present, the only fuel cell systems that have the capability of achieving high power den W cm-2) are the proton exchange membrane (PEM) and the alkaline fuel cell (AFC) systems. Of these, the PEM system is the leading candidate fuel cell power source for many military and commercial applications. In order to make PEM fuel cell power sources cost-competitive with competing technologies and more effective in meeting various mission requirements, the chemical composition, structure and configuration of fuel cell components need to be optimized with regard to weight, performance, cost and the ability to be mass produced. Up to the present time, PEM systems have largely been optimized around the combination of electrodes applied to the proton- conducting polymer electrolyte membrane. The objective of this project is to develop a new generation pf PEM fuel cells having ultralightweight components and a simple means of construction as well as a novel means of internal hydrogen gas humidification. New and novel concepts for catalytic electrodes, internal humidification of the PEM electrolyte, current collectors/reactant flow fields and bipolar plates have been incorporated into the design of the proposed PEM fuel cell. A performance of 0.8 V and 1.0 A cm-2 at 95oC using pure H2 and 02 at 10 atm is the Phase I goal. Because of the attainment of high power density and high energy conversion efficiency, together with the C02-rejecting nature of the strongly acidic PEM electrolyte layer, this fuel cell system readily satisfies the requirement of a dual-use fuel cell technology, (e.g., as the power source for electric vehicles where air, rather than oxygen, is used as the oxidant feed gas). Anticipated Benefits/Potential Applications - Spin-off technology associated with lightweight, efficient PEM electrochemical systems will have many commercial applications. Lightweight, high power density fuel cells will be used as power sources for electric vehicles, portable power sources for communications/news teams and portable medical instrumentation.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *