Technology Review

Bipolar Plates for PEMFCs

[+] Author and Article Information
C. A. C. Sequeira

Materials Electrochemistry Group,
Institute of Materials and Surfaces Science
and Engineering,
Instituto Superior Técnico,
Universidade de Lisboa,
Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal
e-mail: cesarsequeira@tecnico.ulisboa.pt

L. Amaral

Materials Electrochemistry Group,
Institute of Materials and Surfaces Science
and Engineering,
Instituto Superior Técnico,
Universidade de Lisboa,
Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal
e-mail: luis.m.amaral@tecnico.ulisboa.pt

1Correponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received February 25, 2014; final manuscript received March 10, 2014; published online April 17, 2014. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(4), 044001 (Apr 17, 2014) (3 pages) Paper No: FC-14-1024; doi: 10.1115/1.4027254 History: Received February 25, 2014; Revised March 10, 2014


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) have many advantages among the various types of fuel cells, such as high energy density, low temperature operation, near-zero pollution, and quick starting. Thereby, PEMFCs have been considered as the most promising alternative power sources in the transportation and stationary fields. Among the components of PEMFCs, the bipolar plates are the most representative regarding cost and volume, however, they have relevant functions on the fuel cell stack. There are about 500 bipolar plates in a PEMFC for a typical passenger car and, thus, the commercialization of the fuel cell technology becomes quite challenging. Important key aspects for a successful fuel cell stack are the design and the manufacturing process of the bipolar plate. For efficient mass production, the cycle time of the process is even more important than the material costs. It is, therefore, very important that the used material is appropriate for a fast manufacturing process. Recent developments are overcoming these issues, leading to improvements on the overall fuel cell performance and durability.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic representation of a hydrogen PEMFC

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematics of the BPPs forming processes: (a) stamping, and (b) hydroforming




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