Precision processing technology

Fuel cell separator.png

I heard a presentation about precision processing technology of a separator for a fuel cell of Toyota fuel cell vehicle “Mirai” last week. It is made of a thin metal sheet.


The principle generating electricity of the fuel cell is a reverse reaction of electrolysis of water. Hydrogen ion from the anode reacts with oxygen from the cathode through the electrolyte. The oxygen is fuel for the fuel cell generation. Due to provide the oxygen and to collecting electricity, the separator is necessary.


It is generally made of a thin metal with fine holes. However, it’s inefficient just making tiny holes because when the chemical reaction occurs, water is generated. The water hinders the sustainable reaction. So supplying oxygen uniformly to the cathode and taking away water from the surface of the cathode is required to the separator.


The speaker who was engaged in the development at a subsidiary of Toyota Motor talked the secret of the development. People who aren’t good at the processing technology might think that it’s not so difficult. Though we can see the basic technology at any press manufacturers, it is well designed with several ingenious ideas. And the processing technology is so precise that few can compete with it.


According to the speaker, the power generation efficiency of the fuel cell doubled from a previous one. However, it has to improve far more along with the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Roadmap by the government.


We need to change the primary energy from fossil fuel to hydrogen due part of prevention of global warming. There are lots of hurdles we have to overcome. As hearing the seminar, I thought.