Collaboration with Danish companies in the development of fuel cells

Jens  Christiansen

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Collaboration with Danish companies in the development of fuel cells

The Danish Technological Institute is leading a large number of hydrogen projects whose goal is to create new technology, which will make it easier for Denmark to switch over to renewable energy sources.

The Danish company IRD Fuel Cell Technology A/S in Svendborg is working together with the Institute to develop cheap materials and components suitable for the production of polymer fuel cells in a three years long project.

So far, a sealing material has been developed that can be utilised for both low- and high temperature fuel cells, which operate at 80ºC and 150ºC respectively. The production route is presently being developed. Finally, the new sealings will be tested in fuel cells.

In parallel with work on sealings, bipolar plates are being developed. The plates are expected to be produced by injection-moulding of electrically conductive polymer/carbon composites. Today, the price for the bipolar plates is EUR 500 per square metre.

- The price of the bi-polar plates has to come down to around EUR 50 a square metre before there can be any real commercial breakthrough. But we believe that the project will help to ensure that we will be able to produce hydrogen-based fuel cells cheaply and easily in the future, declares development manager Steen Yde-Andersen from IRD Fuel Cell Technology A/S.

The components make up the main parts of the fuel cells, which produce energy sustainably. This could be in a gas boiler, which as well as providing heating also generates electricity for the building. The fuel cell’s preferred fuel is pure hydrogen, which can be supplied through the natural gas network. The hydrogen is produced from natural gas or stored in the so-called hydrogen tablets, which the Institute has contributed to developing for the Danish company Amminex A/S.

The project is being subsidised with EUR 1.8 million from the Danish Energy Authority. As well as IRD Fuel Cell Technology A/S, Danish Power Systems ApS is also participating in the project.