White Paper - Intlvac Thin Film’s Approach to Reduce Fuel Cell Costs

 

Did you know that the cost of precious metals has been a major hurdle in the development of fuel cell technology? Fuel cells have long been recognized as a key layer in the future of clean energy but the high cost of noble metals like platinum and palladium has limited their widespread adoption. At Intlvac Thin Film, we are actively working to overcome this challenge by leveraging our expertise in low-temperature multi-layer metal coatings.

 

The world is facing a climate crisis and sustainable energy is one of the key solutions to combat it. In this pursuit, fuel cell technology is emerging as a promising alternative to traditional energy sources. Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, emitting only water and heat as byproducts. Unlike conventional power plants that rely on burning fossil fuels, fuel cells operate without any harmful emissions, making them a clean energy option for the future. Fuel cells are versatile and can be used in various applications, including transportation, residential and commercial power generation, and off-grid power supply. Fuel cell-powered vehicles are already on the road, providing zero-emission transportation for a cleaner environment. Residential and commercial fuel cell systems can provide reliable backup power during outages or operate as a primary energy source. Off-grid fuel cell systems are ideal for remote locations or disaster relief situations, where access to electricity is limited or disrupted.

 

At Intlvac Thin Film we recognize the importance of reducing the cost of producing fuel cells to make them a more economically viable option for various industries. One promising approach to achieving this is through the use of plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) technology, which can reduce the amount of expensive and scarce noble metals used in fuel cell construction by up to 90%. This innovative technology can deposit very thin layers of platinum, without compromising the fuel cell’s performance. By focusing on the development and deployment of PECVD technology, Intlvac Thin Film can drive down the cost of producing hydrogen fuel cells and accelerate the adoption of this clean energy source.

 

We specialize in providing a wide range of thin film coatings for bipolar plates and electrolyzers. Our coatings are designed to enhance the performance, durability, and functionality of various surfaces. We offer an extensive selection of materials, including gold, platinum, tantalum, niobium, palladium, iridium, nickel, titanium-nitride, tantalum-nitride, and more. These coatings are deposited using advanced PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) processes, such as magnetron sputtering, electron beam evaporation, and PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition).

 

Intlvac Thin Film is among the world leaders in gold coatings and deposition. Gold is simply not something that looks beautiful, but it is also very versatile. We have worked with it for decades, using a variety of techniques, and we have developed some of the most unique ways of depositing it. Through our research & development, we have refined ways to coat gold onto irregular geometries. Doing so with gold is an impressive feat in and of itself because gold is a material that resists adhesion to many surfaces. Our gold coating shows no bubbling, nor are there any gaps in the crevasses. We have the ability to add scratch-resistant coating if our clients require. 

 

Our gold, platinum, tantalum, niobium, palladium, iridium, and nickel coatings are widely used in industries such as electronics, aerospace, automotive, medical devices and now the fuel cell industry. For over 20 years Intlvac Thin Film has been researching and developing unique in-house coating systems to produce thin films that offer excellent corrosion resistance, high electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility, making them ideal for fuel cells and electrolyzers.

 

Canada’s 2023 budget demonstrates a commitment to the hydrogen energy sector by establishing a refundable 40% investment tax credit to accelerate green hydrogen projects and increase their competitiveness on the global stage. This includes investing in research and development, supporting demonstrations of new technologies and promoting collaboration between industry, academia, and government. Intlvac Thin Film and its partners and clients can benefit from this.

 

As the world seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, fuel cells are becoming an increasingly important solution. By using our unique low-temperature deposition techniques, we can create highly efficient and durable coatings that enhance the performance and longevity of these crucial components while significantly reducing their overall cost. Intlvac Thin Film can scale up the production of bipolar plate coatings for fuel cells and electrolyzers, enabling us to effectively meet the market demand and we can deliver high-quality and customized vacuum systems that help to advance research and innovation in the hydrogen fuel cell industry. 

 



 

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