BASF officially opened its BASF Fuel Cell production facility in Somerset, New Jersey. The facility fabricates ready-for-use high-temperature Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) units—the heart of the fuel cell. BASF markets its MEA products under the brand name Celtec.
The novel MEA developed by BASF contains the first commercially available high temperature membrane for fuel cells, allowing operating temperatures in the range of 120-180 °C (320 to 360 °F). Combined with the ability to run without any humidification, this MEA offers an advantage over other Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technologies, BASF says, including a far simpler system and tolerance to impurities in hydrogen and air.
One of the challenges facing fuel cell developers is to develop a highly reliable and cost-effective fuel cell system for practical applications. A key factor in achieving this is for the system to have as few components as possible. Conventional low temperature fuel cell systems, which operate at a maximum of 80 °C (175 °F) need a large number of ancillary units, and a complex control and hydration system as well as high-purity hydrogen gas. Fuel cells equipped with BASF’s high-temperature Celtec MEA are tolerant to impurities in the hydrogen gas; they can be cooled by the air and do not have to be hydrated with water. This eliminates the need for air humidifiers, water pumps, tanks, valves and cleaning systems.
Celtec high-temperature MEAs are used in applications such as residential power and heating supply units or backup-systems to ensure electrical power.
BASF Fuel Cell GmbH is a supplier of materials for fuel cells and reformers. In addition to the Celtec line, the company offers a broad variety of catalysts for fuel cells and reformers under the product line Selectra. BASF Fuel Cell continues the fuel cell activities of BASF, Engelhard and PEMEAS.