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Fail-Safe, Inexpensive Electrochemical Device Stack Design

IB-1658A

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Small scale fuel cell applications (auxillary power units)
  • Small scale syngas production
  • Small scale gas separation

ADVANTAGES:

  • Improved stack efficiency (10% more power output than a single cell of the same active area)
  • Potentially over ten times less expensive to manufacture than existing stack designs
  • Redundancy is built into the system so that it continues to function despite cell failures

ABSTRACT:

Craig Jacobson, Steven Visco, and Lutgard DeJonghe have invented a robust and low cost electrochemical device stack system based on a modified segmented-cell-in-series design. In this invention a number of small cylindrical cell segments are in contact with a planar metallic interconnect sheet that electrically connects one cell segment to the one above and/or below it as well as to the cell segments on the same interconnect sheet. This system allows one or more cells to malfunction without disabling the whole system. The novel design enhances stack efficiency through simplified gas manifolding, gas recycling, and improved heat distribution.

The Berkeley Lab design may potentially be over ten times less expensive to manufacture than other available stack designs. Fabrication is simplified because only the punched out metal interconnect and the small tubular cells need to be manufactured. Other systems require several additional steps. Co-firing the tubes themselves is less costly because no interconnect element is involved. The interconnect plate can be made of inexpensive ferritic steels and can be punched into shape using low cost technology. The cost per cell segment and power density achieved by this new invention make it commercially promising.

STATUS:

  • Issued Patent #7,740,966 available at www.uspto.gov. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
  • Available for licensing.

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-1658A

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Last updated: 08/26/2010