Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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NOTE ON POPULAR POSTS

The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Wednesday, 14 December 2005

WHICH FUEL-CELL?

If you are going to buy a fuel-cell, or and FCV, or set your company on a course to use the technology, a PEMFC is the leading type, for very good reasons. Your first question when deciding which PEMFC to go with is 'What are its bipolar plates are made of?'

If the answer is 'graphite', stop talking to that supplier. Graphite plates will most definitely not win the day in fuel-cell technology. Any company making them or using them is going down a technological and financial cul-de-sac, flying into a commercial black hole.

If the answer is 'metal', carry on. Metal plates are cheaper, very much easier to mass-produce, tougher, easier to keep cool, etc. They beat graphite hands down.

Next determine efficiency, the efficiency of output, the efficiency of the cooling and humidification systems, the lifetime of the PEMs (proton-exchange membranes), the output in kW per litre, etc. Cost is the last consideration, and a comparatively minor one, because technical superiority will inevitably result in the best price. Even if the product were the most expensive at the start that disadvantage would not last.