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Fuel cell cooler-humidifier plate

United States Patent

May 23, 2000
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A cooler-humidifier plate for use in a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack assembly is provided. The cooler-humidifier plate combines functions of cooling and humidification within the fuel cell stack assembly, thereby providing a more compact structure, simpler manifolding, and reduced reject heat from the fuel cell. Coolant on the cooler side of the plate removes heat generated within the fuel cell assembly. Heat is also removed by the humidifier side of the plate for use in evaporating the humidification water. On the humidifier side of the plate, evaporating water humidifies reactant gas flowing over a moistened wick. After exiting the humidifier side of the plate, humidified reactant gas provides needed moisture to the proton exchange membranes used in the fuel cell stack assembly. The invention also provides a fuel cell plate that maximizes structural support within the fuel cell by ensuring that the ribs that form the boundaries of channels on one side of the plate have ends at locations that substantially correspond to the locations of ribs on the opposite side of the plate.
Vitale; Nicholas G. (Albany, NY), Jones; Daniel O. (Glenville, NY)
Plug Power Inc. (Latham, NY)
08/ 911,358
August 7, 1997
The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC02-94CE50389 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.