Pem Fuel Cell Applications And Their Development At International Fuel Cells

Thomas F. Fuller, Michael E. Gorman and Leslie L. Van Dine International Fuel Cells Corporation South Windsor, Connecticut 06074

International Fuel Cells (IFC) is involved with the full spectrum of fuel cell power plants including the development of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems. The extensive background in systems, design, materials and manufacturing technologies has been brought to bear on the development of highly competitive PEM power plants. IFC is aggressively pursuing these opportunities and is developing low-cost designs for a wide variety of PEM fuel cell applications with special emphasis on portable power and transportation. Experimental PEM power plants for each of these applications have been successfully tested.

IFC brings to PEM fuel cell development two distinct design features: (1) IFC's Passive Water Management (PWM) design concept and (2) graphite construction benefits from our extensive experience in manufacturing. PWM, with its inherent internal saturation, greatly simplifies the power plant supporting systems leading to reduced cost, weight and volume and makes ambient pressure operation practical. The PWM concept is illustrated in Figure 1. Only one circulator, the water pump, is needed for thermal and water management. Recycle of reactants is not required, thereby improving reliability and durability of the system. Because the liquid water is contained by capillary forces, the system can be attitude and gravity independent

Underwater Application

Figure 2 is a photograph of the prototype Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) PEM 10-kW power plant developed and tested by IFC under a program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. This was IFC's first full-size stack incorporating the PWM concept The power plant, which consisted of two 80-cell stacks, ran for more than 500 hours in a simulated mission profile.

Anode Cathode water

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