Grant: $100,000 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 8, 2009
No votes have been cast for this award yet
Award Description: This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Project is focused on the high production, low cost manufacturing of fuel cell bipolar plates by using Metal Injection Molding Techniques. This project will build upon PET’s recent experience in successfully molding 316 Stainless Steel bipolar plates based on a Parker fuel cell design. A need exist to research the Manufacturing Technology that will identify a minimum thickness and maximum size that a bipolar attain using cost effective Metal Injection Molding Process. With the rise in energy costs and potential problems with greenhouse gasses, the 'Hydrogen Economy is a major focus to resolve our nation’s energy issues. One aspect of the Hydrogen Economy plan is the use of the highly efficient proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), which offer a solution to power generation and battery replacement for a wide variety applications including automotive, appliances, generators, and recreational uses for decades to come. Cost reductions are needed in order to drive the transition to the hydrogen economy. Low cost fuel cell components are needed urgently. One such component is the bipolar plate. This versatile component carries the power between the cells, dissipates heat, and supplies the fuel to the heart of the cell. A more economical method is required to produce these grooved plates from metals and alleviate the more costly and fragile graphite plate from fuel cell design. Manufacturing technology development must be applied to reach the goal of less than $5 per kilowatt of power and bipolar plate costs are a major part. This can be accomplished by processing the bipolar plates with metal injection molding (MIM). Injection molding is a high speed processing method that produces accurate dimensions and high repeatability. By utilizing the large capacity platens on injection molding machines, the DOE target of 200 million units per year can be attained with approximately 20 large injection molding machines. PET, through a DOE grant on Utilizing Metal Injection Molding to meet High Volume, Cost Effective Manufacturing of Bipolar Plates, has proven MIM will work for the Parker Fuel Cell which is a small, relatively thick bipolar plate. Again, this NSF project focuses on understanding the manufacturing limits that can be reached by using the Metal injection Molding process. Specially, how thin can the bipolar plate be manufactured without creating porosity in the part. This knowledge is crucial in determining if this process offers additional cost advantages.
Project Description: The project is moving forwar as scheduled. The following are the highlight: 1. Personnel are in place 2. Small mold has preliminary testing complete and moving toward molding 3. Medium mold started and mold 'in work' 4. R&D on material compression down to .13mm thick 5. automotive design sent to Precision Energy and Technology & design in process 6. Design review of processing at 50%
Jobs Summary: 1 full time engineer …..5 PT engineer …3 full time coop engineers (Total jobs reported: 5)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 8, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.