Manufacturing Center Advances Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) announced that its collaborative R&D teams have made advancements in the manufacturing of hydrogen fuel cells.

These teams are funded through an award from the Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE), the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infra-structure Technologies Program. “The development of efficient manufacturing techniques to produce hydrogen fuel cell components and storage systems are the key to making hydrogen powered systems commercially available,” said NCMS President and CEO Richard Pearson. “NCMS members are taking the lead in delivering technology to meet this strategic energy objective of the U.S. Department of Energy.” The NCMS collaborative team of Millennium Cell, The Dow Chemical Company, Edison Welding Institute and NextEnergy developed manufacturing techniques for fuel cartridge components. Initial pilot runs were successfully completed in December 2006 and the manufactured fuel cartridges were shipped to Jadoo Power Systems, Inc. for evaluation. Additional production runs will be conducted this month. The team of UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. company, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory successfully identified cost-effective manufacturing techniques for high-cost Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell components and are currently concluding selection of final designs and materials with the subcontractors who will produce the components. This effort targets the movement of fuel cell component production out of the laboratory and into a high-volume production environment. Another team, Protonex Technology Corporation and Parker Energy Systems, addressed cost-effective manufacturing methods for high-reliability components of PEM fuel cells for portable applications by applying design-for-manufacturability principles. Protonex’ fifth generation fuel cell stack architecture was optimized, and manufacturability of multiple 300-watt stacks was demonstrated using a novel, single-step production process. A significant reduction in part count and cycle time was realized.
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