Northern Graphite - Bissett Creek

Fuel Cells

Nov 7, 2014

While batteries store electrical energy for subsequent use, fuel cells also generate electricity through chemical reactions and therefore need to be periodically “refueled”. Fuel cells can be used in both stationary and mobile applications and use substantially more graphite than lithium ion batteries. Fuel cells produce little or no waste products and are very quiet, eliminating noise pollution. They have no moving parts and are long lasting, low maintenance and reliable.  Fuel cells are also much more efficient than combustion engines in converting fuel to energy.
According to “there are many uses for fuel cells right now and all of the major automakers are working to commercialize a fuel cell car. In fact, toyota and hyundai already have. Fuel cells are powering buses, boats, trains, planes, scooters, forklifts, even bicycles. There are fuel cell-powered vending machines, vacuum cleaners and highway road signs. Miniature fuel cells for cellular phones, laptop computers and portable electronics are on their way to market. Hospitals, credit card centers, police stations, and banks are all using fuel cells to provide emergency power to their facilities. Wastewater treatment plants and landfills are using fuel cells to convert the methane gas they produce into electricity. Telecommunications companies are installing fuel cells at cell phone, radio and 911 towers.” It is estimated that the fuel cells became a one billion dollar industry in 2013.
According to the United States Geological Survey, fuel cells have the potential to consume as much graphite as all other uses combined. There are a number of different types of fuel cell under development although the proton exchange membrane technology (“PEM”) is the only one that uses large quantities of graphite and could create significant demand for graphite.  However, the US Department of Energy suggests that PEM cells are the most likely to be developed for use in light vehicles, buildings and smaller applications.
Bi polar plates, which are a major component of fuel cells, are made from medium to coarse, high purity flake graphite.