SFC Reports Fuel Cell Membrane Technology Breakthrough

March 03, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG (SFC, Munich, Germany) reported that it has reached an important breakthrough in reducing the costs of fuel cells. A new membrane allows substitution of at least 50% of the expensive catalytic platinum.

"SFC was the first company to bring commercial products on the market and to develop a conclusive concept for developing the mass market for electronic devices," stated SFC Executive Director and Founder Manfred Stefener. "Our new membrane technology allows us to partially replace the catalytic platinum. The significant cost reduction means competitive price structures when compared to batteries. In addition, all other applications for fuel cells become economically attractive."

The company's direct-methanol fuel cells follow a simple principle of "liquid in - current out," which avoids the complexity of reformers and the difficulties and safety concerns that are unavoidable with hydrogen storage. The active system approach is the basis for higher power levels and a longer lifetime. SFC products are reliable up to a lifetime of 5,000 hours and have cumulatively completed roughly 500,000 operating hours.