Johnson Matthey and PolyFuel, Inc., have entered into an agreement for PolyFuel to provide Johnson Matthey with the PolyFuel hydrocarbon direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) membrane intended for fuel cells to power portable devices. Johnson Matthey will use these membranes in the manufacture of catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) and membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), which are the part of a fuel cell that transforms fuel into electricity.
Johnson Matthey is a leader in fuel cell catalysts, in marrying catalysts and membranes, and in engineering, manufacturing and selling the catalyst coated membranes and membrane electrode assemblies. Under the terms of the agreement Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells will be a PolyFuel "channel partner" and will purchase PolyFuel's DMFC hydrocarbon membranes to manufacture a variety of CCM and MEA products for the portable fuel cell market.
Dr. Jonathan Frost, Director of Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells said: "A high volume, portable fuel cell market will be an important driver in the development and widespread use of fuel cells in all applications. Strategically, this is an important business for us. Designers of methanol fuelled portable fuel cells feel that PolyFuel’s membranes have advantages for their devices and now we can offer CCMs and MEAs that combine PolyFuel’s hydrocarbon membranes with Johnson Matthey’s strengths in catalysts and MEA design."
Jim Balcom, President and CEO of PolyFuel said: "This announcement is significant on several fronts. First, it serves notice to portable device manufacturers and fuel cell manufacturers that high-performance DMFC CCMs and MEAs will soon be available commercially, and from a top industry supplier as well. This should help to accelerate that market and encourage a widening of development efforts. Second, it signals a close collaboration between PolyFuel and Johnson Matthey that should result in impressive new developments in membrane, catalyst and MEA technology by virtue of their symbiosis. Third, to observers of PolyFuel, in combination with our recent disclosure that NEC and Sanyo are the first publicly announced users of our membranes, this demonstrates the momentum we are seeing in the market."
Balcom elaborated: "Our membrane is being closely evaluated by virtually every significant battery, fuel cell, and portable electronic manufacturer out there. Now, for the first time, these companies will have a choice to purchase this membrane either directly from PolyFuel or integrated into CCMs or MEAs from Johnson Matthey."