Novel Fabrication of Low Cost Performance Bipolar Plates
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
Materials And Electrochemical
7960 South Kolb, Tucson, AZ, 85706
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Dr. R. O. Loutfy
Dr. J. C. Withers
Abstract90 Novel Fabrication Method of Low Cost High Performance Bipolar Plates--Materials & Electrochemical Research (MER) Corporation, 7960 South Kolb Road, Tucson, AZ 85706-3237; (520) 574-1980 Dr. R. O. Loutfy, Principal Investigator Dr. J. C. Withers, Business Official DOE Grant No. DE-FG03-97ER82425 Amount: $75,000 Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are extremely promising power sources for electric and hybrid vehicles because they offer the potential of high energy efficiency (about 60 percent) and produce negligible air pollution or noise. In order to meet the market opportunities of the transportation sector, however, significant reductions in cost per unit of power produced and improvements in reliability, safety, and durability are required. In addition, low-cost separator (bipolar) plates, improved membranes, and better catalytic electrodes need to be developed. The Phase I project will demonstrate the applicability of a novel fabrication technique to produce low-cost and high-conductivity bipolar plates for fuel cell applications. An innovative approach to produce conductive polymers with conductivities comparable to the currently used graphite bipolar plates will be pursued. The fabrication technology for this conductive polymer will be investigated to produce net shape bipolar plates, thus eliminating the exceedingly expensive machining of graphite plates. The properties of the conductive polymer bipolar plates will be fully characterized, and the bipolar plates will be evaluated in single-cell configurations for electrochemical stability, resistivity, and gas diffusion. The overall concept will be assessed both for technical performance and cost in Phase II. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Conductive polymers could offer a significant performance and cost advantage to fuel cell technologies. Net shape conductive polymer bipolar plates could be produced, which could have significant commercial potential in fuel cell markets and could enhance the potential for the commercialization of this technology not only for automotive use but also for cogeneration powerplants for commercial buildings.
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