The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), based in Ann Arbor, Mich. announced recently that its collaborative R&D teams have made important advancements in the manufacturing of hydrogen fuel cells.

Team Results:

  • The NCMS collaborative team of Millennium Cell, The Dow Chemical Co., Edison Welding Institute and NextEnergy successfully developed manufacturing techniques for fuel cartridge components. Initial pilot runs were successfully completed in December 2006 and the manufactured fuel cartridges were shipped to Jadoo Power Systems, Inc. for evaluation. Additional production runs will be conducted at Millennium Cell in Eatontown, N.J. and additional cartridges will undergo further independent testing by the NextEnergy Center in Detroit, Mich. The cartridges will provide hydrogen fuel for Jadoo's 2200 W hrs XRT Extended Runtime Accessories targeted for use with emergency responders, Homeland Security and "off-grid" power support applications in Columbia, S.C.
  • The team of UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp., and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory successfully identified cost-effective manufacturing techniques for high-cost Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell components and are currently concluding selection of final designs and materials with the subcontractors who will produce the components. This effort targets the movement of fuel cell component production out of the laboratory and into a high-volume production environment. UTC Power has provided PEM fuel cell power plants for fleet transportation applications in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Another team, Protonex Technology Corp. and Parker Energy Systems, addressed cost-effective manufacturing methods for high-reliability components of PEM fuel cells for portable applications by applying design-for-manufacturability principles. Protonex' fifth generation fuel cell stack architecture was optimized, and manufacturability of multiple 300-watt stacks was demonstrated using a novel, single-step production process. A significant reduction in part count and cycle time was realized.

"The development of efficient manufacturing techniques to produce hydrogen fuel cell components and storage systems are the key to making hydrogen powered systems commercially available," said NCMS CEO Richard Pearson.

These teams are funded through an award from the Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infra-structure Technologies Program.

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences