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Recent Advances in Metal Hydride Fuel Cell Technology for UPS/Emergency Power Applications

Kevin Fok

Novel metal hydride fuel cell (MHFC) technology has been scaled up and demonstrated in 320 W stacks and 500 W systems. This enables a 1500 W stack building block for UPS/emergency power applications. Stacks and the associated balance of plant can be integrated into prototype systems for telecom and other applications. Future power development activities are aimed at stacks achieving a specific power of 150 W/kg. The durability of the MHFC technology has been demonstrated by the operation of several multicell stacks in operation in excess of 7,000 hours. Metal hydride fuel cells offer a practical, low cost approach to power systems for UPS/emergency power applications. Charge storage characteristics of the metal hydride active material provide for special features including instant start, fuel hot swap capabilities, good low temperature performance, and inherent bridging and transient handling capabilities. The MHFC is also comprised of low cost components, including non-noble metal catalysts, carbon powders, nickel meshes, plastic binders, and plastic stack components. Fabrication and manufacturing of the MHFC involves conventional processing equipment similar to that used in commercial battery manufacturing. The MHFC offers an excellent opportunity for low cost fuel cell stacks addressing the serious cost issues facing the fuel cell industry.

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