High-performance fuel cells form the heart of hydrogen-based drive systems. Our stainless precision steel strip is the perfect material for the cost-effective production of the metallic bipolar plates required for this purpose. This is because it offers excellent formability despite its extremely low material thickness.
In light of their long range and faster refueling compared to battery-powered vehicles (BEVs), the ongoing development of fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) represents an interesting alternative in the carbon-neutral mobility mix. The bipolar plates that, in combination with the membrane electrode unit, form the individual cells within a fuel cell stack offer significant potential in terms of fuel cell efficiency and compact design. To take full advantage of this, an extremely thin material is required that reliably supports complex forming operations during the manufacturing process. Only on the basis of these material properties is it possible to manufacture highly efficient bipolar plate stacks that make it possible to achieve complex flow-field designs, the fine channels used to convey gas and coolant, even in small sizes.
Waelzholz offers stainless precision steel strip in thicknesses of only 50 to 200 µm (0.002 – 0.008 in) for the production of bipolar plate stacks. The advantage is that with over 800 individual plates needed to assemble one bipolar plate stack, the ultra-thin sheets collectively result in a compact design. Our special production routing also results in a material that exhibits ten percent better formability than the standard and is also extremely flat. This makes the material perfectly suited for the complex forming processes with tight bending radii used to create complex flow fields.