Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Powerful fuel cells at a lower cost

Using alternative components offers opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in fuel cells. In this project, the technical and commercial feasibility of a hydrogen (reformed from methanol)/air fuel cell was investigated to show that cost reductions are feasible with no loss in performance.

To achieve cost reductions, ways of incorporating cheaper components into the fuel cell were investigated. Tests included using a lower platinum materials. Significant cost reduction opportunities were identified that do not affect the performance of the fuel cells. Using platinum /ruthenium catalysts instead of pure platinum improved the carbon monoxide tolerance of the anode by a factor of 30. Even when using air instead of oxygen on the cathode side, transport losses in the electrode can be minimized by using thin electrode structures. Membrane structures were identified which seemed to be suitable alternatives to the material currently used . Costs modelling showed that reductions to as low as 100 ECU/kW could be achieved using these new materials, under mass production conditions. Electric vehicles with fuel cell propulsion systems are still only in an early stage of development. Nevertheless, the prospects of an efficient fuel cell costing less than 100 ECU/kW are exciting.

Reported by

Siemens AG
Paul Gossen Str. 100
91050 Erlangen
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