The National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) of India has developed a critical, cheaper fuel cell component that is expected to reduce the overall costs of fuel cells significantly. The scientists have developed a polymer variant of polybenzimidazole, used in making spacesuits, which will be utilized in the membranes of the PEM fuel cells.
What is unique about the new polymer is that it is about 100 times cheaper than Nafion, manufactured by DuPont, which is the standard electrolytic polymer currently used in many fuel cells. Just shy of two years ago I talked about Nafion XL (or extended life) as breakthrough technology that would increase durability of the fuel cell.
The new NCL polymer is resistant to carbon monoxide poisoning and will work at temperatures up to 300 degrees F, which is around twice as hot as Nafion can endure. If successful, the NCL polymer will help India achieve their stated goal of having 1 million hydrogen vehicles on their roads by the year 2020.
Because scientists worldwide continue to develop technological breakthroughs that bring down the cost of fuel cells, FCV’s will be here much sooner and more cost effectively than most people think. Brilliant minds on a global scale will continue to charge ahead bringing forth a cleaner and greener world in the very near future.