Bac2 (Southampton, U.K.), the fuel cell materials and components company, announced on April 17 that it has extended the family of products made from its ElectroPhen conductive polymer to include high-temperature bipolar plates. High-temperature operation, typically between 180°C and 200°C (356°F to 392°F), is required to achieve good efficiency in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The new plates are mechanically and electrically stable at more than 200°C/392°F. They will be on show for the first time at the Hannover Fair, Germany, April 20-24.
Traditional bipolar plates for fuel cells have to be machined to create the channels through which fuel, air and water vapor flow. ElectroPhen is an electrically conductive thermoset material, made from readily available bulk constituents, which can be compression molded and cured at room temperature. Bipolar plates based upon ElectoPhen do not need further machining, so they can be produced quickly and economically in any quantity. High-temperature versions are subject to a proprietary conditioning process but this does not add significant cost or production time.
ElectroPhen is a patented conductive polymer that requires relatively little loading with graphite to achieve the required conductivity for fuel cell plate applications. In addition to offering customized plates in high volume, Bac2 markets blank plates that customers can machine for prototyping work before committing to mold tooling expense.