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Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

The research institute EVTank and Ivey Economic Research Institute released the research report on hydrogenation station, hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and transportation, and recently released the "Fuel Cell System Industry Chain Research Report (2019)". In the research report, Ivey Economic Research Institute has carried out in-depth research and analysis on key links of fuel cell stacks, bipolar plates, membrane electrodes, proton exchange membranes, catalysts, gas diffusion layers and other industrial chains from the perspective of industrial chain. And detailed the basic situation of enterprises in all aspects of the fuel cell industry chain.

Regarding the fuel cell system, Ivey Economic Research Institute believes that its key components include auxiliary systems such as stacks and gas supply systems. Key technologies include hydrothermal management technology, low temperature cold start, and system control technology. The fuel cell stack is the core of this system, including bipolar plates, membrane electrodes, catalysts, proton exchange membranes, gas diffusion layers and other components. Among them, the catalyst, the proton exchange membrane and the gas diffusion layer are integrated into a membrane electrode, which is the main component of the stack.

First, the reactor

A stack is a place where an electrochemical reaction takes place. The single cell is composed of a bipolar plate and a membrane electrode. According to the target load demand, a plurality of single cells are stacked and embedded in a sealing member, and are fastened by a screw after being pressed by the front and rear end plates, thereby forming a fuel cell stack (referred to as a stack).

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

When the stack is working, the anode is the place where the hydrogen fuel is oxidized, the cathode is the place where the oxidant is reduced, and both poles contain the catalyst for accelerating the electrochemical reaction of the electrode. The proton exchange membrane acts as a medium for transporting hydrogen ions, allowing only hydrogen ions to pass through, and the electrons are A current is formed externally. When working, the stack is equivalent to a DC power supply, the anode is the negative pole of the power supply, and the cathode is the positive pole of the power supply. In fact, the fuel cell stack is not an energy storage device, but a power generation device.

In the "Fuel Cell System Industry Chain Research Report (2019)", Ivey Economic Research Institute divides the major suppliers of fuel cell stacks into two major echelons. The first echelon is mainly passenger car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda. Hyundai, etc., whose stack power exceeds 100 kilowatts, is used by fuel cell vehicles and is not sold. The second echelon is dominated by Ballard and hydrogenics. European and American fuel cell commercial vehicles use their reactors with low power. At the same time, Balad, hydrogenics and other enterprises actively deployed the Chinese market, adopting the mode of technical cooperation, technology transfer, joint venture construction, and targeted procurement to supply domestic commercial vehicles.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

Regarding domestic power reactor production enterprises, Ivey Economic Research Institute is classified into three major systems in the report: the larger scale belongs to the “Balard Department”, the development model chooses to introduce Ballard technology, and the production line is built through joint venture to purchase Ballard. The production of electric reactor components mainly supplies domestic commercial vehicles and logistics vehicles. On behalf of enterprises, there are Guangdong Guohong, Dayang Electric, Weichai Power, etc.; Yihuatong is independent research and development through the combination of production, study and research, and at the same time introduces foreign advanced technology to absorb and innovate. It has become one of the domestic manufacturers with the largest supply of fuel cells; the representative enterprises of pure domestic independent research and development are mainly Xinyuan Power, Shanghai Shenli, and tomorrow Hydrogen, etc., relying on cooperation with universities, combining production, study and research, and undertaking relevant national issues. Formed a certain capacity.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

The research of Yiwei Economic Research Institute found that at present, the industrial power density (passenger car) of domestic fuel reactors has reached 1.8kW/L, the laboratory has reached 3.1kW/L, and the service life of passenger car systems has generally reached 5000h. It reaches 10000h and has a low temperature starting ability of minus 30 degrees.

Second, the bipolar plate

The bipolar plate is a multifunctional component of the stack. Its main function is to transport the reaction gas to the membrane electrode through the flow field of the surface, while collecting and conducting the current (multiple cells are connected in series through the bipolar plate) and discharging the heat and product of the reaction. water. Its weight accounts for about 80% of the stack and costs about 30%.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

Bipolar plate materials are currently mainly graphite bipolar plates, metal bipolar plates and composite plates. The Ivey Economic Research Institute found that graphite bipolar plates are currently the most widely used. Graphite bipolar plates have strong corrosion resistance, good electrical and thermal conductivity, but poor air tightness, large thickness, long processing cycle and high cost. On the other hand, due to the space limitation of passenger cars, high-power, low-cost metal bipolar plates have better application prospects, and have been commercialized abroad. Composite bipolar plates are more suitable for mass production, but they are currently less developed.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

Ivey Economic Research Institute believes that the technology of graphite bipolar plates is mature. At present, mainstream suppliers include POCO and Ballard. Domestic manufacturers mainly include Shanghai Shenli, Shanghai Hongfeng, and Jiayu Carbon. Although graphite bipolar plates have been initially implemented for small-scale domestic use, Ivey Economic Research Institute believes that due to lack of durability and engineering verification, and the production process is mostly mechanical processing, the cost is difficult to reduce.

The research of Yiwei Economic Research Institute has found that the technology of foreign metal bipolar plates is mature, and the process has been verified. The main suppliers are Dana of Germany and Bac2 of Britain. Most of the domestic enterprises are in the trial production stage, and Shanghai Youge, Shanghai Zhixin New Energy, Xinyuan Power and other enterprises are leading the research and development, and have tried the vehicles. Antai Technology Titanium Bipolar Plate has been mass-produced in 2018 and is supplied to Ballard, Canada. The research and development of composite bipolar plates is still relatively rare. The main research enterprises are Wuhan Himalayan and Xinyuan Power.

Third, the membrane electrode

The membrane electrode is the "cell" of the stack, which determines the upper limit of the performance, life and cost of the stack, and the cost accounts for more than 60% of the stack. The membrane electrode assembly is a combination of a membrane, a catalytic layer and a diffusion layer, and is the most important component of the fuel cell unit. The research of Ivey Institute of Economics found that at present, the third generation of membrane electrode technology has been developed internationally. First, the catalyst slurry is coated on the gas diffusion layer by the hot pressing method to form the anode and cathode catalytic layers. "GDE" structural membrane electrode, the overall performance is not high; the second is to prepare the catalytic layer onto the membrane (CCM), to some extent improve the catalyst utilization and durability, but the catalytic layer structure is unstable; The ordered membrane electrode is prepared by preparing a catalyst such as Pt onto the ordered nanostructure, so that the electrode is in an ordered structure, and a strong and complete catalytic layer is obtained, thereby further improving the performance of the fuel cell and reducing the platinum loading of the catalyst. At present, the second-generation CCM technology is the most commercialized. The third-generation ordering technology is still in the research and development stage, and only Gore achieves mass production.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

In the research report, Ivey Economic Research Institute believes that the current membrane electrode market is mainly occupied by foreign companies. The main suppliers of mainstream membrane electrodes are 3M, Gore and Toray. Battery and passenger car companies such as Ballard, Toyota, and Honda have independently developed membrane electrodes. The performance of domestic membrane electrode is close to the international level, with a slight gap, but the gap between batch production process and equipment is large, and the continuous production of roll-to-roll has been realized in foreign countries.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

The domestic professional membrane electrode supplier, Ivey Economic Research Institute found that the company is mainly Wuhan Science and Technology New Energy, the main export supply to Prag, and the supply of domestic car companies, is one of the world's six major membrane electrode suppliers, the scale The annual output of chemical production reached 120,000 pieces, and the capacity of the completed automated membrane electrode production line reached 20,000 square meters per year. It is expected to be built to 100,000 square meters per year in the future. Dalian Xinyuan also produces membrane electrodes independently, mainly for the engine of SAIC. Hongji Chuangneng Membrane Electrode is under construction capacity of 100,000 square meters per year, and 2020 is expected to be put into production. In addition, Dalian Institute of Chemical Technology, Wuhan Han Himalaya, and Suzhou Engine are involved in the research and development of membrane electrodes.

4. Proton exchange membrane

The proton exchange membrane is the core component of the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). From the structure of the membrane, proton exchange membranes (PEM) can be roughly divided into three categories: sulfonated polymer membranes, composite membranes, and inorganic acid doped membranes. The PEM materials currently studied are mainly sulfonated polymer electrolytes, which can be classified into perfluorosulfonic acid proton exchange membranes, partially fluorinated proton exchange membranes, and non-fluorine proton exchange membranes according to the fluorine content of the polymer. The Ivey Institute of Economics mentioned in the research report that the most commonly used proton exchange membranes are the Nafion perfluorosulfonic acid membrane of the United States Como (DuPont) and the select composite membrane of Gore.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

Proton exchange membranes have been scaled up abroad. The mainstream enterprises include Gore, Kemu, Asahi Glass, Asahi Kasei, etc. The domestic technical level is comparable to that of foreign countries, but many of them are in the pilot stage, and they can supply only Dongyue Group. AFCC (Mercedes-Benz Ford Joint Venture) supply chain.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

At present, the most widely used perfluorosulfonic acid membrane has the advantages of good chemical properties and high proton conductivity, but its synthesis and sulfonation process are complicated and costly; in addition, the perfluorosulfonic acid membrane requires high temperature and water content, with Nafion For example, the film has an optimum operating temperature of 70 to 90 ° C. When the temperature is too high, the water content is drastically lowered, and the conductivity is rapidly decreased. Therefore, the electrode reaction rate is difficult to be improved, and the catalyst is easily poisoned, thereby damaging the life of the stack. Therefore, partially fluorinated, non-fluorinated, composite proton exchange membranes, and high-temperature proton exchange membranes are important research directions, and they are simple in processing, low in cost, and superior in stability.

V. Catalyst

Catalyst is one of the key materials for fuel cells. At present, the catalyst commonly used in fuel cells is Pt/C, which is a supported catalyst in which platinum nanoparticles are dispersed onto a carbon powder carrier. The research goal is to make the platinum loading of fuel cell catalysts lower than that of traditional fuel vehicles. The foreign catalyst platinum loading is 0.1~0.2g/kW, the domestic platinum loading is 0.3~0.4g/kW, and the traditional fuel vehicle is 0.05g/kW. There is a large room for decline.

The research of Yiwei Economic Research Institute believes that the catalyst overseas enterprises are leading, and it has been able to achieve mass production, and the country is starting. Among them, the British Johnson Matthey and the Japanese Tanaka (supply Honda Clarity) are the world's leading companies. Domestic enterprises are still in the research stage, including Dalian Institute of Chemical Industry, Xinyuan Power, Guiyan Platinum and other universities and enterprises, and Pd@Pt/C core-shell catalyst prepared by Dalian Institute of Chemical Industry. Its oxygen reduction activity and stability are better than commercialization. Pt/C catalyst; Guiyan Platinum and SAIC have jointly developed fuel cell catalysts and have achieved certain results.

Sixth, gas diffusion layer

The gas diffusion layer is located between the flow field and the membrane electrode, and the diffusion layer is made of a carbon-based material (carbon paper or carbon cloth) treated with a hydrophobic material. The role of the hydrophobic material is to prevent water from accumulating in the pores of the diffusion layer, affecting gas diffusion. The main function of the diffusion layer is to provide a transport channel for the gas participating in the reaction and the water produced, and to support the membrane electrode. Therefore, the gas diffusion layer must have good mechanical strength, a suitable pore structure, good electrical conductivity, and high stability, and thus the carbon paper and carbon cloth required must have excellent performance.

Fuel cell system forecast for the next five development trends

Ivey Economic Research Institute's "Fuel Cell System Industry Chain Research Report (2019)" believes that carbon paper products from foreign companies such as Toray, Ballard, and German SGL have already achieved large-scale production. Domestic Taiwan Carbon Energy, Antai Technology ( Started to supply Prag) to achieve mass production, the global market is dominated by Toray and Taiwan Carbon. Other R&D entities in China are mainly concentrated in universities and enterprises such as Central South University, Wuhan University of Technology, and SAIC. They are subject to factors such as small market demand and immature technology, and cannot be mass-produced on a large scale.

In the "Fuel Cell System Industry Chain Research Report (2019)" issued by the Ivey Economic Research Institute, the future development trend of the fuel cell system is also predicted:

(1) The cost reduction of fuel cell stacks is still the focus of industry development. Under the current technical conditions, parts cost-producing such as proton exchange membranes and gas diffusion layers can be reduced by scale, and bipolar plates and catalysts are difficult to reduce costs due to the cost of raw materials, so it is necessary to change the technology. Explore low-cost solutions.

(2) The localization of power reactors and components has accelerated. At present, the production capacity of metal bipolar plates, membrane electrodes, proton exchange membranes, catalysts and carbon paper for passenger cars is low, and the market is dominated by foreign companies. With the increase of domestic R&D investment, the gap between the future production technology of the stack and the technology of each component will shrink, and the domestic substitution will accelerate.

(3) The technology of graphite bipolar plates is mature, and domestic production will be ushered in. Graphite materials will seek new carbon-based materials with better performance and lower cost, and the production process will change from mechanical processing to compression molding. With the advancement of passenger car technology, metal bipolar plates with small size and high power and suitable for mass production have broad prospects.

(4) Ordered membrane electrode technology is the mainstream development trend of membrane electrode preparation in the future. The ordered membrane electrode can solve the defect of structural instability of CCM technology, has excellent multi-phase mass transfer channel, can effectively reduce platinum loading, and improve membrane electrode life. At present, mass production is achieved in a small area within the industry, and large-scale mass production still faces difficulties in technology and preparation such as water management.

(5) Reducing the platinum loading of the catalyst or using a non-platinum catalyst is an effective cost reduction direction. On the one hand, by improving the electrode, increasing the platinum mass ratio activity to reduce the amount of platinum, developing ultra-low platinum catalysts with core-shell mechanism, platinum alloy or nanostructure; on the other hand, researching and developing non-platinum catalysts, such as palladium-based catalysts, non-precious metal catalysts and Non-metallic catalyst technology.

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