UK-based fuel cell materials and components company, Bac2 have unveiled high temperature bipolar plates made from its patented ElectroPhen™ conductive polymer for use in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The new bipolar plates are reported to be mechanically and electrically stable at over 200 degrees Centigrade and can achieve good efficiency in PEM fuel cells. High temperature operation, typically between 180 and 200 degrees Centigrade, is required to achieve desirable efficiency in PEM fuel cells. ElectroPhen is a unique, patented conductive polymer that requires relatively little loading with graphite to achieve the required conductivity for fuel cell plate applications.
Traditional bipolar plates for fuel cells have to be machined to create the channels through which fuel, air and water vapour flow. Alternatively, ElectroPhen is an electrically conductive thermoset material, made from readily available bulk constituents, which can be compression moulded 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.