Efficient bipolar plates are essential for storing power obtained from renewable power sources. While polypropylene makes a suitable matrix material for such plates, the essential measure of conductivity are only able to be obtained by loading it with as many as 80 wt. % graphite. To prevent the compound from embrittling afterwards and to ensure it remains very easy to process, a way of boosting the impact strength with elastomers continues to be developed.
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell receives special attention as an alternative power device for a variety of industrial applications due to the excellent energy conversion efficiency, high power density, low operating temperature, convenient fuel supply, longer lifetime and low emission. The potential commercial uses of PEM fuel cell comprise laptop, computers, cellular phones, military back power packs, scooters, cars, etc.
However, the high production cost and lasting durability hinder the commercialization of PEM fuel cell. Bipolar plate is definitely the essential constituent of PEM fuel cell, since it leads to 80% of weight and 40% of price tag in a PEM fuel cell. Also, it facilitates many important functions; including: supplies reactant gases at anode and cathode, connects individual cells electrically to produce cell stack, and removes the unwanted products away from the cell.
Hence, widespread commercialization of PEM fuel cell technology is highly influenced by the performance and cost in the bipolar plates. Primarily, bipolar plates are fabricated using graphite and metallic materials. But, weak mechanical properties of high density graphite and corrosive nature of metals makes these materials dexqpky60 unsuitable to use as bipolar plate in PEM fuel cell. However, new class of materials, for example: coated metals and carbon/ polymer composites have obtained special attention due to their low fabrication cost, lightweight and chemical stability. The bipolar plate materials must fulfill the target values set through the Department of Energy (DOE) of the United States. Within this review, article several patents and research articles on various kinds of bipolar plate materials for PEM fuel cell application are discussed in depth.