Novel Structured Metal Bipolar Plates for Low Cost Manufacturing
Small Business Information
201 Washington Road, Princeton, NJ, 08540-6449
AbstractThe Department of Energy, working with industry groups has revised the technical, performance and cost targets to enhance the commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) for transportation applications. The focus of this SBIR Phase II project is to demonstrate the success achieved by TreadStone in Phase I by demonstrating the technology in test apparatus supported by US automobile companies, meeting the revised technical and performance requirements. TreadStone will also optimize the processing techniques thereby demonstrating that its technology advancements can meet the low cost targets. The feasibility of the technology has been demonstrated in the Phase I project. Ex-situ corrosion test data indicates that stainless steel plates with novel TreadStones nano-structured corrosion resistant and electrical conductive coating can meet the revised technical and performance targets. The in-situ long term durability was also demonstrated in a single cell performance test. This project goes beyond TreadStones current low cost metal plate technology that uses a very small amount of gold for PEMFC transportation applications. It will develop a gold-free metal plate coating technology meeting the revised industry requirements including: i. gold free coating; ii. lower electrical contact resistance ( & lt; 5 m.cm), and iii. roll to roll coating on stainless steel foil strips, before stamping. TreadStone plans to optimize the composition of the coating materials, develop the larger scale fabrication technology and demonstrate the technology in full size, automotive short stack with our team partner Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii. Industry support will be provided by Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Impreglon, Inc. The proposed project is built on three pillars: 1) unique, and proven technical solutions, 2) a team that consists of industrial leaders in fuel cell stack application, design, and manufactures; 3) a low-risk, significant milestone driven work plan to ensure the on-time, on-schedule delivery of the project. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The implementation of this project will reduce the fuel cell stack metal bipolar separator plate cost which accounts 15-21% of the overall stack cost. The proposed technology will reduce the cost risk associated with the fluctuating gold price of current metal plate technologies. The roll to roll processing capability will reduce the capital investment for the corrosion resistant plate fabrication. In combination, all of these improved plate attributes will help the market penetration of current early stage of fuel cell commercialization.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.