Ceramic Fuel Cells Awarded US Patents

February 22, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd. (CFCL, Australia) reported that it has been awarded two patents in the United States for two inventions that resolve problems of electrical conductivity for ceramics and heat-resistant steels. When used in a fuel cell, this invention can remove the need for some external electrical conductor, such as wire, and thus avoid the associated problems of variable expansion rates, gas contamination of materials and fragility of wiring in assembly and handling.

Ceramic Fuel Cells has developed a method for taking ceramic materials, which are normally electrically insulating and making them electrically conductive, by using a combination of a nickel-tin alloy layer and a silver-containing layer that causes the protective layer subsequently created by the steel to be electrically conductive. With this invention small quantities of silver are absorbed into a ceramic coating during firing. CFCL believes this has solved a problem facing other fuel cell developers wanting to use ceramic coatings on a metal structural material.