Celanese have inaugurated the worlds’ first pilot plant for the production of high temperature membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). The plant is located in the Frankfurt-Hochst Industrial Park, Germany.
MEAs form the heart of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell and allow hydrogen and oxygen to react to produce energy and electricity.
The new facility will allow Celanese to further develop its fuel cell technology, including optimisation of the production process for more rapid manufacture of MEAs.
PEM fuel cells have potential application in nearly all applications from mobile phones to power plants for cars and buses.
Celanese MEAs have been developed to work at temperatures of up to 200°C. This high operating temperature is thought to be advantageous as the fuel cells are more resistant to carbon monoxide contaminants in the hydrogen. In addition, water and heat management systems are simpler and more cost-effective.
The MEA consists of several layers including a membrane, catalysts and gas diffusion layers. The Celanese membrane, Celtec is made of polybenzimidazole (PBI), a temperature resistant polymer only manufactured by Celanese.
There is keen interest in fuel cell technology as they have the potential reduce pollution as well as being more environmentally friendly by reducing the global dependence on fossil fuels. They also have the potential to revolutionise several industry sectors such as energy and transport.
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