September 2008

Bac2 samples two new bipolar plates that are easily machined to facilitate rapid fuel cell prototyping

Southampton, UK, September 3, 2008: Fuel cell materials company, Bac2, is now sampling two new sizes of blank bipolar plates for fuel cell prototyping. The first measures 150 x 150 x 2mm and the smaller one is 60 x 40 x 1mm. The new plates complement the original 300 x 300 x 3mm version launched in March 2008.

The plates, which are based on Bac2's unique conductive polymer, ElectroPhen, can be machined more simply than metal plates, making them ideal for fuel cell prototyping and development work before progressing to low-cost, moulded functional plates. Their conductivity easily exceeds US Department of Energy specifications for use in automotive applications. When in stock, samples are delivered within 48-hours, or they can be manufactured on a 28-day lead-time. Once the fuel cell design has been finalised, the plates can be ordered as ready-moulded parts that need no further processes or machining.

Bac2's bipolar plates exhibit in-plane and through-plane conductivity of 350 S/cm and 20S/cm respectively. They are stable to 150 degrees C and have 30MPa flexural strength and 75 MPa compressive strength. Thermal conductivity is greater than 100 W/m K.

Bipolar plates account for 30% of the cost of a typical polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack. Making them from ElectroPhen ensures proven performance and, because its manufacturing process is both simple and easily scalable, it is significantly lower in cost than alternatives. Plates made from the material are thermally stable, resilient to temperature and inert towards fuel cell catalysts and membranes.

ElectroPhen cures at room temperature and its basic raw materials are widely available from major chemical suppliers. It has a raw state conductivity one billion times higher than commonly used resin binders, so that no high temperature processing or surface machining, is needed to ensure good conductivity. Where required, Bac2 customises the material with plasticisers, reinforcers, and conductive fillers, to fine-tuned it for specific applications.

Photo caption: ElectroPhen blank plates are ideal for fuel cell prototyping.