PP shows potential to reduce fuel cell cost

PP shows potential to reduce fuel cell cost
PP shows potential to reduce fuel cell cost

PP shows potential to reduce fuel cell cost

A conductive long carbon fiber thermoplastic (LCFT) compound developed by Honam Petrochemical (Seoul, Korea) and based on polypropylene (PP) has been employed in the bipolar plate of a fuel cell.

Through this development, the company hopes to reduce the overall cost of fuel cells, 40% of the cost of which currently comprises the bipolar plates that are normally fabricated from metal plates or carbon fiber/epoxy composites.

Honam prepares the LCFT using a twin-screw extruder and the pellets measure 8-12 mm in length and container a 50% carbon fiber loading. These pellets are then blended with more PP resin and graphite powder, and molded into plates using a hot press molding process employing 10,000 psi of pressure. The bipolar plates measure 2-3 mm in thickness and 100 x 100 mm square.

A bipolar plate comprising 15% LCFT:5% PP resin:80% graphite powder boasts a conductivity to 123 S/m, which meets US Department of Energy (DOE) requirements of 100 S/cm conductivity, and a flexural of 40 MPa according to Sungrok Ko, senior research engineer at Honam. A formulation of 5% LCFT, 30% PP and 65% graphite powder exhibits a flexural strength of 30 MPa and conductivity of 45 S/m.

The worldwide market for fuel cells was valued at an estimated $800 million in 2011 according to Ko, who anticipates that the market structure will shift from a portable fuel cell-centric market in 2012 to one more reliant on the automotive sector in 2015.

Previous attempts have been made to injection-mold bipolar plates from PPS resin, which was considered better equipped to cope with the temperature requirements of fuel cells.-mpweditorial@ubm.com

Source : http://www.plasticstoday.com/articles/pp-shows-potential-reduce-fuel-cell-cost-carbon-fiber-20120703a

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