A fuel cell system includes a fuel cell stack that includes fuel cell plates. The fuel cell system includes a retainer to maintain a total compression force on the fuel cell plates between approximately 5 to 40 pounds per square inch.
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 The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract No. DE-FC36-03G013101 awarded by the Department of Energy.