Project Description

Our fuel cell plates off a wide range of benefits. They are thinner, stronger, and offer superior electrical performance compared to other types of plates. The metal provides excellent heat conductivity compared to non-metal solutions. Metal is less fragile, making it more ideal for mobile applications. Titanium and stainless steel are durable, making them the perfect options for long-life applications.

When it comes to fuel cells, there are many other perks:

  • No need to use costly tooling or mold making to create the plates.
  • Changes can be made quickly and easily.
  • Thickness options are typically .050” or less.
  • Multiple channel levels can be etched onto a single plate.
  • Smooth surfaces and burr are standard.
  • We can prototype to high volume.

Photo-Etched Fuel Cell Plates, Frames, Supports & End Caps

Tech Etch offers a whole line of flow field bi-polar plates used in PEM fuel cells. These plates can be made with interlacing front and back side channels, producing a corrugated effect for improved cooling.

Bi-polar plates, also known as separator plates, are part of a fuel cell stack and act as an anode for one cell and a cathode for adjacent cells at the same time. They feature flow channels for fluid feeds and can contain conduits for the transfer of heat.

Crossover channels can also be produced via the photoetching process. Using titanium or stainless steel, we can create tolerances of up to .0005 inches. We always produce our fuel cell plates to the specifications of our customers.

Our photoetching products are made of stainless steel or titanium, whichever material works best for your needs. We can create:

  • Bi-polar flow field plates
  • Frames
  • Membrane support screens
  • End caps

Robotic spray coating applies conductive coatings to any metal product

New Robotic Spray Coating Process Applies Conductive Coating to Batteries, Fuel Cells and Energy Storage Devices

At Tech Etch, we’ve developed a system to coat our metal products with a conductive coating with ease. Whether you need coatings for fuel cells, battery current collectors, or other energy storage devices, our coating system can provide the solution you need most.

Conductive coatings improve battery performance via better electrical contact. They also provide improved oxidation and corrosion protection, resulting in longer shelf life and reduced leakage. Our robotic coating equipment features an articulated head that ensures a uniform coating over the metal. The system can use either epoxy or water-based coatings.

How PEM fuel cells work

Fuel cells gather chemical energy and convert it into electrical energy. They use hydrogen as the fuel and oxygen to convert. This results in electricity, as well as water and heat as by-products. The Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) helps transmit protons from one side to the other. PEM fuel cells can operate at much lower temperatures than other fuel cells, around 90 degrees Celsius.

A fuel cell has an anode and a cathode as its electrodes, separated by a polymer membrane. The electrodes are coated on a single side with a catalyst. Hydrogen goes into the anode and air enters the cathode.

Combine these two with the catalyst and the hydrogen splits into two protons and two electrons.

The electrons flow through the circuit and create a current. The protons travel through the membrane, combine with the electrons, and create by-products of water and heat. With enough fuel cells in place, useful electricity can be produced. They make for a great source of power due to their efficiency, low emissions, quiet operation, and ability to be produced in a variety of sizes.