Boston Materials (Boston, Mass., U.S.) a high-performance materials firm, has announced the release of ZRT lightweight bipolar plates in partnership with specialty materials manufacturer Arkema.
Boston Materials states that with the debut of this new product, it is disrupting both the expanding hydrogen fuel cell business and the industry’s cost and weight targets by employing ZRT composite films to create substantially lighter bipolar plates produced entirely of recycled carbon fiber.
With hydrogen rapidly becoming one of the most environmentally friendly options for powering industries that rely on fossil fuels, particularly warehouse automation, drones, long-haul trucking, and aviation, these lightweight bipolar plates are increasing fuel cell capacity and making hydrogen fuel cells more competitive with other fuel sources.
“With this new product, Boston Materials is unlocking a significant performance and cost advantage for fuel cell makers, allowing them to convert their end users from fossil fuel to higher functioning, cleaner systems that are powered by hydrogen,” Anvesh Gurijala, CEO of Boston Materials, says. “We are thrilled to partner with Arkema on this initiative as we expand into the energy storage market.”
The bipolar plate is a critical component of a fuel cell stack when it comes to hydrogen fuel cells and energy storage. It is supposed to conduct the current generated within a fuel cell across the stack, ensure appropriate hydrogen and water flow, and maintain the overall structure, all while enduring the interior hot and corrosive conditions. Bipolar plates comprise up to 80% of the total stack weight, and plates manufactured with Boston Materials’ ZRT are said to be more than 50% lighter than conventional stainless steel plates. This weight reduction enhances the fuel cell’s capacity by 30%.
“As Arkema continues to invest in sustainably manufactured high-performance polymers, we are excited to work with Boston Materials on this new application for energy storage,” Mickael Havel, business development director at Arkema, notes. “Together, we have the potential to unlock new market opportunities for polymer composite materials and significantly reduce overall carbon emissions within the industry.”
ZRT composite films are manufactured by Boston Materials using the company’s patented Z-axis Fiber technology – a lightweight material capable of diffusing energy. Z-axis Fiber, which is made entirely of recycled carbon fiber, is touted to enable the production of high-volume, energy-efficient products with a low carbon footprint.