This technology represents the next generation in fuel cell innovations.
The technology relates to PEM fuel cells, more specifically to a composite separator plate with oriented fibers, and low-carbon and high-polymer loading. The separator plate composition includes a percentage of conductive fibrous filler having a relatively high aspect-ratio oriented through the thickness of the plate to achieve desired electrical and thermal conductivity requirements.
A method of manufacturing the fuel separator plate having such fibers disposed in a through-plane orientation has also been developed. The method includes forming a separator plate having a land height for orienting the fibers in a desired through-plane direction, then removing a portion of the land height to obtain the desired geometric configuration for the separator plate.
In addition to describing a method of manufacturing, PEM fuel cells are designed to enhance the electrical and thermal conductivity of the fuel cell separator plate.
Separator plates of this composition survive the corrosive fuel cell environment and, for the most part, meet cost and conductivity standards. However, due to the high graphite loading and the high specific gravity of graphite, these plates are inherently brittle, yielding less than desired volumetric and gravimetric stack power densities.
Therefore, it is desirable to provide a fuel cell separator plate formed of a robust composite material having adequate electrical and thermal conductivity properties. Additionally, it is also quite useful to have an efficient method of manufacturing such fuel cell separator plates.