Connecticut Patent of the Month – October 2023

Traditionally, in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, a crucial component is the bipolar plate, which acts as a bridge between individual cell units in a stack. These plates are responsible for directing the flow of reactant gases to the electrodes and managing the removal of water, a byproduct of the fuel cell reaction. 

Nimbus Power Systems, LLC has developed a bipolar plate that boasts several remarkable features. The plate consists of two key components: a nonporous sub-plate and a porous sub-plate, each with its own set of functions. The company is focused on building a cleaner world by revolutionizing zero-emission fuel cell systems for heavy-duty long-haul vehicles.

The nonporous sub-plate is designed with precision, featuring a water management side and a reactant side, separated by an internal coolant passage. This innovative design ensures efficient water management and temperature control within the fuel cell. Moreover, the internal coolant passage is subdivided into primary and secondary pathways, with a divider ensuring optimal flow.

On the other hand, the porous sub-plate complements the nonporous counterpart. It features a reactant side equipped with oxidant channels and a water management side that includes a specialized water flow field with channels. This flow field’s unique design serves as a water reservoir, allowing passive water migration across the fuel cell.

One standout feature of this bipolar plate is the bubble barrier pore structure on the water management side of the porous sub-plate. This structure permits the easy transport of liquid while preventing the passage of reactant gases, enhancing overall efficiency.

The nonporous sub-plate’s water management side incorporates a recessed perimeter, ensuring a secure and nested seal with the porous sub-plate, thus preventing leaks and optimizing performance.

Nimbus Power Systems has addressed key challenges in fuel cell technology such as efficient water management and temperature control. Their innovative bipolar plate strives to unlock new possibilities in the field of clean energy generation, ultimately contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

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