The project will demonstrate an environmentally friendly low-temperature process to produce graphite-based bipolar plates for fuel cells. Bipolar plates account for almost 29% of the fuel cell stack costs, and hence cost-effective manufacturing methods for making the bipolar plates are of paramount importance. Current manufacturing technologies for graphite bipolar plates require consolidation of graphite precursor materials using compression or injection molding followed by high-temperature treatment for baking and graphitization. In contrast, the proposed process allows for the direct consolidation of graphite powders without the use of any coal, petroleum, or polymer binders resulting in a significant reduction of time during compression molding as well as eliminating the need for additional high-temperature treatment. The low-temperature process is ideally suited for meeting the Department of Energy 2025 metrics for the manufacture of bipolar plates. The work will help us put together a highly interdisciplinary team based on faculty from three Commonwealth campuses, whose research expertise includes carbon research, electrochemistry, and life cycle assessment for validation of environmental energy.
This project is developing a low-temperature, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective process to produce graphite-based bipolar plates for fuel cells.