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ITM Power reports successful high power density fuel cell tests with air rather than oxygen

UK-based ITM Power has demonstrated exceptionally high power densities in initial testing of its proprietary hydrocarbon membrane materials for hydrogen/air fuel cells. The company says it has achieved more than double the fuel cell power density performance presently available on the market.

ITM Power previously achieved what it says is a step-change from the current state-of-the-art for a PEM fuel cell, recording 5.5 W/cm2 and 10 A/cm2 using pure oxygen. The company has now successfully demonstrated the performance of the membrane in a hydrogen/air fuel cell, achieving over 2.1 W/cm2 and 4 A/cm2. The work is part of a technology development project supported with £108 000 (US$174 000) of funding from the Carbon Trust.

While ITM’s initial investigations focused on hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells, a commercial fuel cell system for use in a vehicle needs to use air as the oxidant. This new, early result with air exceeds the ambitious target of 1.5 W/cm2 set in the Carbon Trust project, and highlights the potential for ITM Power’s materials.

ITM is also preparing to begin its Hydrogen On Site Trials (HOST) program, in which it will use its HFuel transportable hydrogen refueling station with two Ford Transit vehicles adapted to run on hydrogen by Revolve Technologies. A variety of UK trial partners have been signed up, including utility Scottish Water, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, and leisure operator Center Parcs.

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