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Nueva metodología para diseñar pilas de combustible de baja temperatura equipadas con un nuevo concepto de placa bipolar


Oferta Tecnológica
Investigadores italianos de un instituto cuya misión es desarrollar nuevas tecnologías de energía sostenible y mejorar las actuales han desarrollado una nueva metodología de diseño de pilas de combustible de baja temperatura y un nuevo concepto de placa bipolar. La metodología se utiliza para diseñar dispositivos destinados a diferentes aplicaciones, con un control preciso de los parámetros geométricos y fluidodinámicos de la pila. El grupo de investigación busca socios con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación técnica, investigación, comercialización con asistencia técnica y financiación.


Innovative methodology for designing of low temperature fuel cell stack, equipped with a new concept of the bipolar plate
Italian researchers have developed a new methodology for low temperature fuel cell stack design and a new bipolar plate concept. The methodology is usable for designing devices for various applications, with a precise control of the geometric and fluid dynamic parameters of the stack. The group is looking for technical and/or research cooperation agreements, commercial agreements with techical assistance and financial agreements.
The italian research team operates in the framework of a national research institute with the mission of developing new and sustainable energy technologies and improving the existing ones, in terms of environmental sustainability, efficiency and cost. The team is above all active in the engineering, design and testing of low temperature fuel cell stack, fed with Hydrogen/Methanol as fuels, air/oxygen as oxidants.
Moreover, numerical models (mechanical, fluid dynamical and multi - physical) are also used for improving the performances and understanding the operation of the devices.
The technology offer consists of an innovative methodology for fuel cell stack design, and in a new concept of bipolar plate. The method is based on a software with these inputs:
- the requested technical characteristics of the stack, like the nominal power and the operative conditions (related to the application);
- the geometrical constrains, like the shape factor of the device (the ratio between height and width);
- the fluid dynamic constrains, like the pressure drop of the flow-path of the reactants.
In stead the outputs of the software are: the geometrical parameters of the flow-path and the final layout of the bipolar plate.
The bipolar plate has a new design concept, which allows a good performance of the gasket. Furthermore, a 3D parametric design tool allows to design and rapidly modify the overall geometry of the stack designed "around" to the active area. The methodology can be applied to design fuel cell stack for different applications, taking into account the system integration needs, like the external dimensions of the device, the requested overall pressure drop and so on.
The attached figures show 4 examples of fuel cell stack designed with this methodology. Different application and design requirements have been faced up: portable, stationary, cogeneration and space.
The devices have been designed in the framework of public research projects (European Space Agency, Italian Government, and European Commission) and private commissions (SME and MNE). The main feature of this combination between design methodology and bipolar plate new configuration is the possibility to foresee the nominal power, the polarization curve of the stack and the fluid dynamic parameters of the reactants, with a margin of error lower than the current state of the practice. Moreover, the new bipolar plate configuration assures a negligible level of external leakage and internal cross-over rates.
As result, the stack designed with this method ensures the requested performances with an ideal stability of operation, durability and reliability.
The innovative aspects of the methodology consist of:
- the concept of the bipolar plate;
- the flexibility of the application;
- the parametric approach for the design of the stack components;
- the possibility to deeply control the design parameters of the flow-path.
The research group is looking for different type of collaboration. The group would like to start a cooperation with an innovative SME and reach a technical cooperation agreement or a commercial agreement with technical assistance, providing the SME with all services in support of the transfer of the methodology. Furthermore, the researchers are looking also a MNE industry in order to implement and improve the methodology through a financial agreement and/or a technical cooperation agreement. Finally, also research agreement with R-Y-D institutions and Universities are welcome for sharing knowledge about fuel cell stack design methodology for developing new stack configuration in terms of geometries and materials.
Advantages and Innovations:
The innovative concept of the bipolar plate is based on a specific geometry of the gas inlet/outlet, which allows the gasket to seat on a continuous surface. This geometry generates a negligible level of internal cross-over and of external leakage of the reactants and, consequently, a low degradation of the MEA (Membrane electrode assembly).
A further innovation of the methodology is represented by an automated approach, which is based on a software, to rapidly calculate the flow - path parameters, assuring the required pressure drop and velocity of the reactants and the correct ratio between open and contact area of the bipolar plate. In this way, the architecture of the bipolar plate and, subsequently, of the overall fuel cell stack are completely defined.
The main advantages of this methodology are the following:
- Adaptable to different sizes and applications of the fuel cell stack;
- Fast and reliable in terms of time spent for the design of the fuel cell stack;
- Foreseeability of the performances with a minimal error;
- Negligible rate of reactants cross-over and external leakage, thanks to the new bipolar plate concept;
- The possibility to maintain an optimal fluid-dynamic condition for the reactants by varying the geometrical parameters of the stack (in particular the aspect ratio);
- The possibility of setting the fluid-dynamic parameters of the flow-path to meet the needs of system integration and/or the characteristics of the MEA.
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
Design Rights

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The researcher team is looking for:
1) SME, with a well-established organization, open to innovation, which needs to implement new technologies based on hydrogen and fuel cell. The research group is able to drive the organization for the design of new products and for the methodology transfer. the SME can be also partner in H2020 projects.
The main types of considered partnership are:
a. Commercial agreement with technical assistance;
b. Technical cooperation agreement;

2) MNE in order to co-develop fuel cell stack using the methodology (i.e. manufacturer of these devices). The research group offers its expertise for numerical simulation, testing and optimization. Moreover, MNE could be a key factor for developing new concept of fuel cell stack in small batches production, for testing campaigns in real environment (TRL 7-9). The described activities can be carried out within a H2020 project or trough national research projects or direct financing of the company.
The main types of considered partnership are:
a. Technical cooperation agreement;
b. Financial agreement;

3) R-Y-D institution and Universities with a strong expertise in developing of fuel cell stack design methodology, in order to share knowledge and skills, especially in numerical simulation, to develop and test new technologies and materials, to implement test protocol, structural characterization (vibration analysis, thermal analysis and so on).
The main type of considered partnership is:
a) Research cooperation agreement


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
02001 Diseño y modelado / prototipos
004008 Energy efficiency
04002 Energy production, transmission and conversion
04002001 Fuel cells