THE FUEL CELL
A hydrogen fuel cell consists of two primary parts; the stack and the control unit. The stack contains up to 800 metallic flow plates and this is where the chemical reaction of converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and heat occurs.
The control unit consists of additional components required for the fuel cell to work; filters, pressure regulators, pumps, cooling system, electronics etc. The dimensions of a typical car fuel cell are about a third of a conventional combustion engine.
An amazing property of the fuel cell is that the only emissions are water and heat, thus creating the ultimate clean fuel power plant.
The fuel cell stack is made out of many serially connected bipolar plates (each plate has a plus and a minus side just like a battery). Together, all the plates become a very powerful energy source to power the electric engines of a car or truck.
Bipolar flow plates
The type of flow plates we manufacture are called PEM (proton exchange membrane) plates. These are thin steel plates with complex channel patterns for the hydrogen and oxygen gas to flow through.
A bipolar plate consists of two flow plates separated by a special membrane (PEM – polymer electrolyte membrane). As hydrogen gas enters on one side, and oxygen on the other, the membrane only allows the positive ions (protons) of the hydrogen gas to pass through, thus creating an electrical circuit. When the hydrogen (H) reacts with the oxygen (O), it produces water (H2O) and heat.
Typically the metal flow plates are also given a special coating to improve conductivity and resist corrosion over time.