Roll embossing: New system revolutionizes production of bipolar plates

Roll embossing: New system revolutionizes production of bipolar plates

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Cette publication existe aussi en Français

Fraunhofer IWU has now taken a major step toward lower costs and mass production of bipolar plates by introducing an innovative system for roll embossing

Hydrogen fuel cells are highly efficient. They use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, powering machines such as ecofriendly vehicles. Electrolyzers reverse this process by using electrical energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Both types of hydrogen systems require bipolar plates (BPPs), which include two key conversion components: the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), in a fuel cell system, and the catalyst coated membrane (CCM), in an electrolyzer. In a fuel cell stack, the double-walled structure of the bipolar plates allows oxygen and hydrogen to flow to both sides of the MEA while water cools the stack. The problem is that the current process of producing bipolar plates is expensive, which prevents the application of hydrogen technology and thus, for example, the widespread and cost-efficient use of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. This potential can only be unleashed if the cost of mass production of the core components involved is lowered. Researchers at Fraunhofer IWU in Chemnitz, in partnership with Profiroll Technologies GmbH, have now developed a prototype system for roll embossing: BPPflexRoll. The production line is up and running at Fraunhofer IWU. It is already equipped with control technology and an operating concept that align with an industrial facility on key points.


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