Nikkei. Sumitomo Corp. will help the British start-up ACAL Energy Ltd. license its FlowCath platinum-free liquid cathode technology (earlier post) for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuels cells in Japan. At the 6th annual FC EXPO 2010 opening in Tokyo on 3 March, ACAL is exhibiting a prototype of the fuel cell module in a booth jointly sponsored by Sumitomo.
Conventional PEM fuel cells uses platinum catalysts on both anode and cathode side of the polymer membrane, resulting in higher cost. ACAL Energy’s FlowCath technology allows it to use no platinum catalyst on the cathode side, replacing it with less expensive compounds. Combined with platinum usage reduction on the anode side, a maximum of 90% total reduction in platinum usage is expected. Moreover, heat and water management can be simplified, resulting in system cost and durability improvements.
ACAL’s FC Engine is under development for markets between 1 kW and 100 kW, and is expected to be commercialized in two years.
ACAL Energy is still at the prototype stage with the technology. Sumitomo will seek out battery makers, automakers and other companies in Japan that can help develop practical versions, with the goal of having commercial products ready within two years. The trading company will also act as an intermediary for the outsourcing of production.