Effect of bipolar plate materials on performance of fuel cells

Tabbi Wilberforce, Oluwatosin Ijaodola, Emmanuel Ogungbemi, Zaki El Hassan, James Thompson, Abdul G. Olabi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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PEM fuel cell is a device that produce electricity through an electrochemical reaction. They are environmentally friendly, with nearly zero emissions due to the reactants used in the reaction (H2 and O2 gas). They are designed to have good efficiency. PEM fuel cell is a reliable means of energy generation. Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells have membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and this MEA functions as the platform in the fuel cell where reaction takes place. Another vital part in Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells is the bipolar plates (BP). They act as the medium where the reactive substances enter the cell. The BP determines the weight of the stack. It therefore contributes to the initial capital needed in the manufacturing of the fuel cell since the weight is directly related to the cost of the device. Dissipation of heat and excess water occurs via the bipolar plate. Scientists around the world working on PEM fuel cells have over the years concluded that a major factor that adds up to the overall cost of fuel cell immensely is the material used in the BP construction.

This investigation therefore presents a thorough review on current materials used for the manufacturing of BP for fuel cells. Merits and demerits of some of these materials were also discussed in detail. This investigation will further serve as a guide to the fuel cell research community in the selection of a suitable material to produce flow plates for specific fuel cell applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering
EditorsM.S.J. Hashmi
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-803581-8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2018


  • Bipolar Plates
  • Coatings
  • Composite bipolar plates
  • Metallic flow plates
  • PEM fuel cells
  • Surface treatment


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