China-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies announced that its latest high power and high power-density automotive fuel cell stacks made using the company’s patent-pending graphite bipolar plates with thickness of 1.1mm exhibit performance superior to that of conventional metal bipolar plates and typical graphite bipolar plates.
By optimizing bipolar plate and membrane electrode assembly material and design configurations, Horizon’s Shanghai R&D center successfully achieved a continuous power density of 1.5W/cm2 at 0.6V per cell in a full-size short stack, thereby doubling the power density of some commercial automotive fuel cells.
Horizon expects to be able to further improve power density to 1.8W/cm2 in the foreseeable future. Commercial production of Horizon’s new 60-100kW, high power-density and low cost automotive fuel cell stacks will commence before the end of 2019.
George Gu, Chairman of Horizon Group, says that cell power density per square centimeter is more important than volume power density when considering commercial attractiveness of fuel cell systems. Doubling power density per square centimeter means not only doubling volume power density but also reducing material cost by half, laying down the foundation for near term large-scale commercialization of fuel cell vehicles.
Horizon will combine this development in bipolar plate technology with recent investments in highly automated manufacturing processes for fuel cell stacks and key materials, with a view to helping customers achieve hitherto unattainable cost structures for both fuel cell vehicle and fuel cell power plant applications.
The company recently signed MOUs with global customers for 1,000 automotive fuel cell systems, and fuel cell power plants to generate in excess of 40MW of power from byproduct hydrogen.