Welcome! Let’s grow the hydrogen economy together. Let’s grow the hydrogen community! Questions & Answers What are performance differences between metallic bipolar and carbon plates?

  • Roger Penn

    November 24, 2022 at 19:50

    The performance difference is that carbon bipolar plates can run to higher current density than metal bipolar plates. When forming metal plates, the required design features cannot be achieved. When you stamp a metal plate, what forms on one side shows up on the other side (mirror image). So you cannot independently design all 3 flow fields (fuel, air, coolant). With a carbon composite plate, you can compression mold all 3 flow fields independently and thus optimize the design.

    The other consideration is lifetime. Carbon bipolar plates have been demonstrated to >30,000 hrs, whereas metal bipolar plates have not achieved such long lifetimes in the field.

    The next question is cost, and Strategic Analysis has shown the at high volume production, the carbon based plates are not as expensive as metal plates (the substrate of the metal plate is usually cost effective, but processing and then adding a plate coating will make metal plates expensive).

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