Transportation - More practical fuel cell


Low-cost corrosion-resistant metallic bipolar plates developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could make proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells economical for use in automobiles and portable power units. As with other types of fuel cells, cost is a barrier to widespread use, but PEM fuel cells also must address power density because space under the hood is very limited in today's vehicles. These barriers could be overcome, however, as Mike Brady of ORNL's Metals & Ceramics Division has developed a new family of nickel-chrome alloys that form a protective and electrically conductive chrome-nitride surface on the bipolar plates. Use of thin metallic bipolar plates will reduce the size and weight of fuel cell stacks and increase the power density. This new breed of bipolar plates is being optimized for weight, electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance, and the plates are designed for low-cost manufacturing processes. The research is funded by DOE.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  November 05, 2003

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