Coating solutions for fuel cell metal bipolar plates

Impact Coatings has supported the fuel cell industry with coating solutions for metal bipolar plates for more than a decade. PVD technology allows coating materials optimized for durable performance at a low cost. We also offer production solutions meeting the need of customers, from the initial pre-series volumes up to full volume production, helping the fuel cell industry and hydrogen society to scale up.

Ceramic MAXPHASE™ – coating for durable performance and low cost

The patented Ceramic MAXPHASE™ coating for LT-PEMFC metal bipolar plates provides superior power output and durability for the fuel cell stack. The material is an electrically conductive ceramic without noble metals, making it insensible to high and volatile metal prices. High-productivity coating of Ceramic MAXPHASE is performed using PVD.

Verified by ZBT

Ceramic MAXPHASE has been verified to be on par with, or even better than, gold coating of metal plates in an LT-PEM fuel cell in terms of current density and degradation. The test was performed by the independent German research institute ZBT (Zentrum für BrennstoffzellenTechnik GmbH).

The ZBT test uses an accelerated stress test protocol* to investigate performance and durability. Fuel cell current density is reported at 0.6 V cell voltage on a single cell assembly. The AST-3 test protocol uses high temperatures, humidities and potential cycling to accelerate the ageing of the coating, enabling a differentiation between different coatings within a test duration of 500 hours. The conditions are considered highly relevant for automotive fuel cell applications.

*) ZBT’s accelerated stress test “AST-3” features a fuel cell with dynamic load cycles, potential variations, and temperature variations.

Coatings services and class-leading production technology

In addition to highly efficient coating materials, Impact Coatings supports customers with production solutions all the way from pilot or pre-series production to full scale volume manufacturing.

At our facility in Sweden we provide a full in-house coating operation for metal bipolar plates as well as other non-fuel cell related coating production. The coating service typically supports customers during prototype and pilot production phases and is today utilized by plate and stack manufacturers globally.

When customer volumes increase, we supply the class-leading INLINECOATER™FC coating equipment optimized for fuel cell plates and prepared for integration in automated manufacturing lines.

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Coating development for fuel cells

The  research at Impact Coatings for optimized coating solutions for metal bipolar plates started in 2007. Since then we have worked with most leading automotive and fuel cell companies on various development projects.  The Ceramic MAXPHASE coating for LT-PEMFC was introduced in 2012 and was selected for the first production fuel cell car application in 2015.

We continue to work closely together with our customers for improved and new coating solutions. This includes coatings for LT-PEMFC, but also for other fuel cell applications and technology for hydrogen production.