Bipolar Plates Portal Page

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This portal page aggregates information relevant to Fuel Cell Bipolar plates.

Bipolar plates are conductive plates in a fuel cell stack that act as an anode for one cell and a cathode for the next cell. Bipolar plates can be made of metal, carbon or conductive composite polymer (usually incorporating carbon). Polymer (plastic plates are also in development).

Bipolar plates have a number of functions within the fuel cell stack:

  • Separating gases between cells (the reaction gases and water exhaust)
  • Providing a conductive medium between the anode and cathode
  • Providing a flow field channel for the reaction gases
  • A solid structure for the stack
  • Transferring heat out of the cell

Bipolar plates require the following characteristics:

  • Impermeable to gases (in a PEM cell - hydrogen and oxygen)
  • Good electrical conductivity
  • A balance between conductivity, strength, size and weight weight is more of concern for transportation and portable applications
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Easy to manufacture in large quantities
  • The flow field must provide uniform distribution of the reaction gases over the active area to ensure even and efficient power production
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