PEM Fuel Cell (LANL)
Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Date: 3/1/95    Record No.: 10105
Contact: Shimshon Gottesfeld, 505-667-0853

PEM Fuel Cell (LANL)
Los Alamos has the oldest ongoing program in PEM, and some key breakthroughs in lowering the cost (by reducing the Pt catalyst requirement, and new designs and fabrication methods), and overcoming sensitivity to impurities. They also are working with an unidentified major company who's supplying a new membrane, different from Dupont or Dow's, and less expensive.

They believe PEM can "leapfrog" the high temperature fuel cell technologies (MC, SO) in stationary applications, which will be much easier than mobile ones (the conventional view of where PEMs belong). At least 10-15 companies large and small are working on PEM in one form or another (not just Ballard!) Los Alamos has lab units at 100 sq. cm. reliably demonstrating their technology.

There is no utility "user group" for PEM, and one is needed. We can be instrumental in forming one with Los Alamos, the other labs, and their other industrial partners. There's also the obvious opportunity to stake out a piece of this very interesting nontraditional approach to fuel cell technology.

This group was initially wary of spending time on visitors unless it could lead to something. After I described the strategic interest utilities have in fuel cells and the new kinds of business initiatives utilities are taking, the PI offered to prepare a brief discussion paper, outlining their ideas and how utilities could participate.