Bipolar Graphite Plates for Heavy Duty Fuel Cell Applications
The development and widespread adoption of hydrogen is seen as essential to achieving global climate neutrality goals. As a renewable energy source, hydrogen offers a way to replace fossil fuels with a clean, scalable and cost-effective energy source.
NeoGraf develops bipolar graphite plates for use in heavy-duty fuel cells. Image Credit: SeventyFour / Shutterstock.com
In each of the European Commissions‘s eight net zero emissions scenarios for 2050, renewable hydrogen is a key solution. Theoretically, renewable hydrogen can store excess energy generated by other renewable sources, meaning that no energy is wasted and energy can be supplied at times when renewables cannot. not generate electricity. It can also help decarbonize hard-to-electrify industries such as long-haul transportation. Finally, next-generation clean hydrogen technologies can replace fossil fuels as a zero-carbon source in the production of chemicals and transportation fuel.
Here we discuss recent developments in bipolar graphite plates for next generation clean hydrogen technologies.
What are fuel cells and how are they used in mass transport?
Fuel cells are frequently used in mass transit / buses in China, as well as in vehicles and forklifts in other regions, mainly North America. While many industries can directly use electric power to help them switch from fossil fuels to renewables, industries such as mass transport, including aviation, heavy transport, and shipping, cannot. not. Fuel cells, however, offer an indirect way to deliver clean energy.
There is an urgent need to develop clean energy solutions for the transport industry, as decarbonization rates in this sector lag considerably behind what they need to be to meet climate change targets. For example, in the UK transport emissions have increased, with the share of renewables in the sector falling from 10% to 4.2%.
Fuel cells are a carbon-free form of energy that can be easily stored and transported; they are particularly useful in helping the transport sector to switch to clean energy and are an important option for decarbonizing industry, as well as the use of fully electric vehicles and biofuels.
How are bipolar graphite plates used in fuel cells and what are their advantages?
The leading developer and producer of natural and synthetic graphite sheets, rollers, and powers, NeoGraf Solutions, recently received $ 2 million in funding from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to support the development of bipolar plates in graphite intended for use in heavy-duty fuel cells. applications.
NeoGraf’s project will help develop flexible, low-cost graphite bipolar plates that are suitable for use in mass transit vehicles such as buses and trucks. Cells provide clean energy for the transportation sector, are cost effective and help support widespread adoption of this technology.
NeoGraf’s solution will make way for next-generation fuel cell materials
NeoGraf’s goal is to develop low-cost graphite bipolar plates for next-generation clean hydrogen technologies to help mass transit reduce emissions.
Image Credit: Avigator Fortuner / Shutterstock.com
The success of the three-year project will depend on NeoGraf’s ability to develop a light, flexible and thin graphite with a very low content of impurities causing leaks.
If successful, the project is likely to serve as a cornerstone for the development of next-generation fuel cell materials and help advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies for mass transit.
The future of fuel cell materials
Research into the development of materials for fuel cells is generating new avenues of research that could enhance the efficiency of fuel cells and support their widespread adoption in public transport. Recently, data has suggested that oxygen reduction electrocatalysts could be used to replace platinum / carbon (Pt / C) which is commonly used in proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
Other new data has shown that semiconductors can be used in fuel cells as electrolytes due to their high ionic conductivity and good electrochemical characteristics. Future studies with double perovskite-like oxides will likely expand our knowledge of the potential use of semiconductors in next-generation clean hydrogen technologies.
The global fuel cell market is growing rapidly and is expected to continue growing at a CAGR of 20.9% until 2025. Investments in research projects are likely to continue, with further developments in fuel cell materials. fuel expected in the coming years.
To effectively decarbonise the transportation industry, it is essential that fuel cell research and development continue to enable the development of optimal solutions that are easy and affordable to adopt.
References and further reading
In-depth Q&A: Does the world need hydrogen to solve the problem of climate change? Carbon Brief. [Online] Available at: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-qa-does-the-world-need-hydrogen-to-solve-climate-change
NeoGraf solutions. NeoGraf. [Online] Available at: https://neograf.com
NeoGraf Solutions wins £ 2million grant from US Department of Energy for fuel cell development. Fuel cell work. [Online] Available at: https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/neograf-solutions-wins-2-million-us-department-of-energy-grant-for-fuel-cell-development/
Staffell, I., Scamman, D., Velazquez Abad, A., Balcombe, P., Dodds, P., Ekins, P., Shah, N. and Ward, K., 2019. The role of hydrogen and fuel cells in the global energy system. Energy and environmental sciences, 12 (2), p.463-491. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/ee/c8ee01157e
van Renssen, S., 2020. The hydrogen solution? Nature Climate Change, 10 (9), p.799-801. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0891-0