The Carbon Trust, a UK non-profit company, has thrown down the gauntlet with its Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge which aims to bring down the costs of fuel cells and commercialize them in the near future. In the latest part of this challenge the Carbon Trust has put up ½ million British pounds in a collaboration between Imperial College and UCLB.
According to UCLB, “The Carbon Trust is running the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge (PFCC) to develop, prove and commercialise novel fuel cell technologies which have the potential to deliver a step-change in overall system cost.
“The UCL and Imperial College collaboration led by Dr Dan Brett (UCL Department of Chemical Engineering) and Professor Anthony Kucernak (Imperial College Department of Chemistry) is developing a fuel cell stack that could offer significant cost savings by using existing high-volume manufacturing techniques employed in the production of circuit boards.”
The Carbon Trust began the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge back in 2010 by selecting promising companies on the edge of breakthroughs in fuel cell technology. ITM Power was the recipient of the first round of funding in 2010 and they created the “… highest ever published hydrogen-air polymer fuel cell power density.”
In March 2011, ACAL Energy was the second recipient of the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge funding. ACAL has since created novel liquid cathode technology for fuel cells.
The Imperial College and UCLB collaboration is the third project under the Polymer Fuel Cell Challenge, aimed once again at using novel materials for fuel cells and high production assembly line technology in order to bring down costs.
The Carbon Trust figures that by 2050, the worldwide market for polymer fuel cells will be worth at least $180 billion and that the UK will be in a good position to get a hefty part of this market share due to their early research and development efforts.