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ITM Power provides update on hydrocarbon fuel cell membrane performance

In partnership with the UK’s Carbon Trust and major automotive OEMs, ITM Power has been performing numerous standardized accelerated stress tests on its high power density membrane material (earlier post) designed to exacerbate degradation and benchmark durability. Unlike the majority of conventional fluorocarbon membrane materials which are expensive and require significant chemical plant to fabricate, ITM’s materials are low-cost hydrocarbons made by mixing together liquid chemicals to a particular recipe.

In an update, the company reports that its hydrocarbon fuel cell membrane is highly conductive and has demonstrated a high power density exceeding 1.5W/cm2 at 600mV with hydrogen/air, 0.3 mg/cm2 of platinum catalyst per electrode and low gas pressures (1.5 bar absolute).

Following achievement of these targets, ITM Power is undertaking an 18 month program focusing on membrane durability and scale-up to full automotive cell dimensions.

Three months into this program, ITM Power’s membrane material has outperformed all targets against which it has been measured. A key metric among these is voltage retention in fuel cell open circuit mode. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has established targets specifying that the cell voltage must not drop by more than 20% over 200 hours.

Using an internationally recognized and commercially available fuel cell, a membrane electrode assembly containing ITM Power’s membrane material has repeatedly shown durability beyond 700 hours (representing many 1000s of hours of normal operation). This represents more than three times the longevity specified in the DOE target, and is comparable with the best results measured for incumbent fluorocarbon membrane materials.

In addition to maintaining open circuit voltage, the membrane also measured extremely low hydrogen crossover at circa 1mA/cm2. This is close to an order of magnitude lower than that measured for incumbent fluorocarbon membrane materials.

While there are further tests yet to be conducted, ITM suggests that these early results give a positive indication of the durability offered by its fuel cell membrane against this aggressive accelerated testing.



Will future FCs and improved batteries have equivalent performance, duration and cost? If so, we may end up with two competing technologies for future electrified clean vehicles?


I said many time to put fuelcell cars for sale near where i live. stop these unnessary 'studies' and begin commercialisation, it's already better then batteries and gasoline. When will they figure-out that it will push the price of gasoline down near where i live and someone else and many other will start buying these cars, so all the price of cars and fuels will get lower because of the increasing competition. Consumers are always right, so put at least one fuelcell car for sale here now. Scientists and engineers only want to be paid by subsidies for endless researchs and studies because they are secrely feeling inferior to normal potent consumers. The science is consumerism, not cold useless studies paid by taxation done by robots without brain and knowledge.

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