Composite material, compression process to reduce time, cost of manufacturing bipolar plates
A single fuel cell does not produce enough energy to power a car. So fuel cells are stacked, with a bipolar plate between each cell through which electrons are conducted. The hydrogen fuel and oxygen, which are part of the fuel cell chemistry, enter the plate through channels along the face on each side of the plates. Creating the channels in the bipolar plate is a manufacturing challenge.
About 29 percent of the cost of a fuel cell stack is the bipolar plate, and machining channels into the plates is a significant factor, said Donald Baird, who is the Harry C. Wyatt Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. "Machining 1 millimeter by 1 millimeter (1 mm x 1 mm) channels is expensive and time consuming."
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