Fuel Cells with Superior Heat Rejection

E.S. De Castro
Advent Technologies,
United States

Keywords: high temperature fuel cells, membrane electrode assemblies, membranes, electrodes


Advent Technologies is an innovation-driven technology company focusing on fuel cells and hydrogen. Our vision is to accelerate electrification through advanced materials, components, and next-generation fuel cell technology. Our technology applies to electrification (fuel cells) and hydrogen production markets, and we are commercializing it through partnerships with Tier1s, OEMs, and system integrators. Applications for the current HT PEM technology are limited to those that can operate on relatively lower current density compared to state-of-the-art LT PEM, and thus transportation uses were largely focused on HT PEM stacks acting as efficient battery range extenders using energy-dense fuels such as methanol. On the other hand, LT PEM fuel cell stacks are severely limited when it comes to heavy duty applications such as fuel cell electric trucks and aeronautical applications due to a limited heat gradient for cooling that is further exacerbated by typical one day high temperatures being well above the US Department of Energy’s heat rejection target set at 40 °C. A HT PEM MEA that operates at higher current over a wider range of temperatures including start up at under 100 °C would represent a paradigm shift in the field and open a wide range of new applications including competing in areas traditionally dominated by LT PEM while at the same time solving the burden of cooling for heavy duty applications. Furthermore, stacks that operate over 120 °C are amenable to advanced, compact cooling systems that have the potential to greatly reduce fuel cell system weight and volume. In a competitive process, Advent was selected as the commercialization partner for a new HT PEM technology pioneered by US Department of Energy scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratories. This next generation HT PEM technology is based on strongly formed ion pairs between a charged membrane and phosphoric acid and has been shown to operate at far higher current density than currently possible with current HT PEM MEAs while at the same time exhibiting substantially lower degradation rates. This presentation will focus on the potential of the ion pair technology as well as introduce innovative cooling methodologies that leverage the higher operating temperature of HT PEM.