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British company breaks fuel cell durability records

Most hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are reliant on the use of platinum as a catalyst for the hydrogen-oxygen reaction which produces water as the only tailpipe emission.

ACAL’s FlowCath technology replaces this with a liquid catalyst, which acts as a catalyst and doubles up as coolant, reducing weight and cost while improving durability compared to platinum-based fuel cell stacks.

Independent tests, which simulate a 40-minute journey with a stop and restart at the end 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have shown FlowCath to be durable enough to reach 10,000 hours of runtime with no degradation in performance.

Equivalent to 300,000 miles, it means the technology doubles the US Department of Energy’s target for fuel cell vehicles, which aims for a 150,000 mile lifespan with less than 10% degradation. FlowCath will now be tested further by a number of unnamed parts and vehicle manufacturers.

Greg McCray, chief executive officer of ACAL Energy, said: ‘Degradation has long held back the potential for the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cells in the automotive sector. Breaking the 10,000 hour threshold during rigorous automotive testing is a key reason our hydrogen fuel cell design and chemistry has been selected for trial by a number of the 6 top automotive OEMs.’

Alex Grant

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