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BASF opens fuel cell components production facility in New Jersey

The new BASF Fuel Cell production facility in Somerset, New Jersey has been officially opened, as the company moves to build on its leadership in developing energy management solutions. The state-of-the-art facility uses advanced production and automation technologies to fabricate the company’s Celtec high-temperature membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs).

The innovative MEA contains what BASF Fuel Cell says is the world’s first commercially available, high-temperature membrane for fuel cells. This allows operating temperatures in the range 120–180°C (320–360°F).

This innovation, with the unique ability to run without any humidification, has a considerable advantage over other PEM fuel cell technologies, including a far simpler system and tolerance to impurities in hydrogen and air.

A key factor in achieving a highly reliable and cost-effective fuel cell system is to have as few components as possible. Conventional low-temperature PEM fuel cell systems, which operate at a maximum of 80°C (175°F), need a large number of ancillary units, a complex control and hydration system, as well as a reformer with a hydrogen gas purification unit.

But fuel cells equipped with BASF’s high-temperature Celtec® MEA are tolerant to impurities in the hydrogen, and they can be cooled by the air and do not have to be hydrated with water. This eliminates the need for air humidifiers, water pumps, tanks, valves and cleaning systems.

Celtec high-temperature MEAs are used in a wide variety of product applications, such as residential combined heat and power (CHP) units offering unprecedented efficiencies, or backup systems to ensure electrical power supply.

BASF Fuel Cell is a leading supplier of MEAs, fuel cell and reformer catalysts, and gas diffusion materials to the fuel cell industry. The company was created in early 2007 by merging the fuel cell activities of PEMEAS and Engelhard with those of BASF.

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