The novel MEA developed by BASF is opening new horizons for system builders as it contains high temperature membrane for fuel cells that allows operating temperatures in the range of 320 to 360 F (120-180 °C). This development, with the ability to run without any humidification, has therefore a considerable advantage over other Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technologies, including a far simpler system and tolerance to impurities in hydrogen and air.

Celtec high-temperature MEAs are used in numerous product applications, e.g. private home electricity and heat supply units providing electricity and hot water at unprecedented efficiencies or backup-systems to ensure electrical power.

The most immediate challenge facing developers is to develop a highly reliable and cost effective fuel cell system for practical applications. The key factor in achieving this is for the system to have as few components as possible. Conventional low temperature fuel cell systems, which operate at a maximum of 175 F (80° C) need a large number of ancillary units, a complex control and hydration system as well as a reformer with a hydrogen gas purification unit to function. Fuel cells equipped with BASF’s high-temperature Celtec MEA are tolerant to impurities in the hydrogen gas; they can be cooled by the air and do not have to be hydrated with water. This eliminates the need for air humidifiers, water pumps, tanks, valves and cleaning systems.

BASF has made a decisive breakthrough in fuel cells with the development of the high-temperature MEA, said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, research executive director and member of the board of executive directors of BASF. The aim of the world-class Somerset, New Jersey facility is to meet the current and greatly increasing demand from customers. Future enhancements and refinements of BASF’s proprietary MEA product in conjunction with system developments by our alternative energy partners will make fuel cell energy realistic, affordable and widely available.

Thanks to the proprietary Celtec MEA from BASF, fuel cell systems now need substantially fewer components and this translates into cost savings for our customers, said Dr. Horst-Tore Land, chief executive officwer, BASF Fuel Cell Inc. The development of the high-temperature MEA enables our customers to manufacture commercially viable fuel cell products.