Thermoplastic Fuel Cell Cuts Costs

[RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Ticona, the technical polymers business of the Celanese Group, has introduced a prototype for a proton exchange membrane fuel-cell made solely of engineering thermoplastics. The advance lowers fuel cell cost at least 50 percent versus fuel cells fabricated with other materials, according to the company. The 17-cell unit contains injection molded bipolar plates of Vectra liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and end plates of Fortron polyphenylene sulfide. The new fuel cell cuts the cost per kW for the stack to about US$ 1,050 from as much as the US$ 4,000 needed with aluminum, gold-coated stainless steel, graphite or thermoset-graphite blends, according to Ticona. The use of injection molded, thermoplastic components represents a step toward meeting the European Union’s target cost of US$ 665 per kW by 2010 for 2 kW residential units.

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