Canadian Plastics

Thermoplastic fuel cell would cost much less to produce

A fuel cell prototype made of engineering thermoplastics could reduce fuel cell cost by at least 50% compared with...

December 15, 2004   Canadian Plastics

A fuel cell prototype made of engineering thermoplastics could reduce fuel cell cost by at least 50% compared with fuel cells fabricated of other materials, according to Ticona, the engineering resins supplier which developed the new thermoplastic unit. The 17-cell unit contains injection molded bipolar plates of Vectra liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and end plates of Fortron polyphenylene sulfide (PPS).
The Ticona prototype is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell.
The Vectra bipolar plates, which contain 855 powdered carbon, were molded SGL Carbon. With a cycle time of only 30 seconds, they can be produced in volume without the labor- and cost-intensive machining and finishing that other materials may require.
According to Ticona (Florence, KY), the new fuel cell cuts the cost per kilowatt for the stack to about US$1050 compared with costs as high as US$4000 for aluminum, gold-coated stainless steel, graphite or thermoset-graphite blends. The European Union has a target cost of US$665 (500 Euro) per kilowatt by 2010 for 2 KW residential units.


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