Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

High Temperature Stack Durability In Fuel Cells(ST9161-1)

Plug Power, Inc.


Today’s low temperature proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells operate at 60-90 C and generate electricity at a net efficiency of about 30%. The Nafion-based membranes used have an upper temperature limit of 90 C. Issues remain with carbon monoxide tolerance, humidification, water management, and membrane degradation. At temperatures above 150 C, the catalyst in the stack is tolerant to carbon monoxide, and water management is a non-issue since the water is in the vapor phase. Plug Power is developing a new higher temperature fuel cell system for supplying not only electricity, but also heating and cooling as well. Fuel use efficiency would thereby be increased compared with current PEM fuel cell designs.

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Project Description

Demonstrate 20,000 hours of cumulative operation of high temperature fuel cell stacks using polybenzimidazole (BBI)-based membrane electrode assemblies.


The higher operating temperature of this BBI fuel cell permits more effective heat transfer and utilization of the heat generated by the fuel cell stack. A higher efficiency fuel cell system is projected to have an electrical efficiency greater than 35%, and fuel use efficiency in excess of 85% in a combined heat and power (CHP) mode. Fuel cells do not combust fuels that can produce pollutant emissions, but rely on an electrochemical process to generate electricity. Successful demonstration of this higher temperature, higher efficiency fuel cell system may expedite Plug Power’s efforts to commercialize a new product, which can lead to additional employment opportunities.

Project Results


Plug Power, Inc.
968 Albany Shaker Road
Latham, NY 12110

Principle Investigator

John Vogel

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply
Fuel Cell

NYSERDA Contact Information

Scott Larsen


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9161-1

Last Updated: 1/10/2014