FLORENCE, Ky. - Ticona, the technical polymers business of the Celanese Group, has introduced the first fuel cell prototype made solely of engineering thermoplastics, an advance that lowers fuel cell cost at least 50 percent versus those fabricated with other materials, the company said. The 17-cell unit contains injection molded bipolar plates of Vectra liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and end plates of Fortron polyphenylene sulfide (PPS).

The Vectra LCP bipolar plates, which contain 85 percent powdered carbon, were molded by SGL Carbon. With a cycle time of just 30 seconds, these plates can be produced in volume without the labor- and cost-intensive machining and other finishing steps needed to form their intricate channels when other materials are used.

"By lowering fuel cell cost to $1,050 per kilowatt, our prototype will help accelerate the evolution of fuel cells for autos, homes, and mobile equipment," said Frank Reil, manager, market development.

- compiled by Kyle Gargaro

Publication date: 12/13/2004