Electrochemical storages such as redox-flow batteries or energy converters such as fuel cells are key technologies for the successful implementation of the energy transition. In batteries and fuel cells, bipolar plates connect several cells in a cell stack compactly, resource-saving and with full-surface contact. Bipolar plates made from metallic materials can be manufactured very thinly, but their high specific weight and low corrosion resistance are disadvantages. Polymer-based bipolar plates as a corrosion-free alternative previously had the disadvantage that they had extremely high material thicknesses, had to be machined or, depending on the material, could not be subsequently formed. Thermoplastic-based bipolar plates, on the other hand, offer significant advantages: In addition to being corrosion-free, they are characterized by a low material thickness and the ability to be subsequently formed and embossed.
Solutions and services of Fraunhofer UMSICHT
We develop thermally and electrically conductive polymer compounds that can be processed into thermoplastic-based bipolar plates with different filler contents. Depending on the filler content of electrically conductive additives, these can be used in a variety of technical applications: in electrochemical storages (batteries), in energy converters (fuel cells), in chemical-resistant heat exchangers or as resistance heating elements. The realization of low material thicknesses, as well as the continuous production method, enables a cost-effective and resource-saving production of electrically conductive polymer plates or films.
Unique selling points
With our bipolar plate material, we offer a thermally and electrically conductive polymer-based compound that is produced cost-efficiently in continuous roll-to-roll production. Thanks to this new manufacturing process, bipolar plates can be produced in low material thicknesses while saving materials and resources. Our bipolar plates are highly electrically conductive, flexible, mechanically stable, gas-tight, and chemically resistant, formable and weldable. In addition to the free choice of conductive additives, other low-temperature and especially high-temperature thermoplastics can be used. This extends the scope for electrically conductive polymers.
How you can work with us
We have already presented a fully welded and absolutely tight redox-flow battery stack with an output of approx. 450 watts with pressure losses of max. 200 mbar and an active area of 1100 cm² each. In addition, we have developed a 3.2 m² bipolar plate that enables the construction of large-scale redox-flow batteries. Dr. Anna Grevé will be happy to advise you on how to use the electrically conductive material.
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