Pacific Fuel Cell Corp., a specialty component manufacturer for the fuel cell industry, announced today the placement of a mold-to-size purchase order by a leading fuel cell company. The purchase order covers calendar year 2008, with molding runs to occur at pre-determined intervals throughout the year.
“Our ability to secure a one-year mold-to-size purchase order from a leading fuel cell company is a significant milestone,” said George Suzuki, chief executive officer and president of Pacific Fuel Cell. “All the tooling necessary to achieve the molding is secured and we will begin the pre-production process for this customer. The mass production of fuel cells is now possible as our mold-to-size step provides our customers bipolar plates (BPPs) that are cost competitive.”
The company expects to achieve improved operating results due to the increase in hourly output and lower labor costs, among other factors, associated with its mold-to-size program.
BPPs are essential elements of a fuel cell stack in that they provide the means for distributing the uniform flow of fuel to the catalyst. Fuel cells are stacked to increase voltage as a single fuel cell produces one volt or less. To date, the biggest commercialization challenges facing the fuel cell industry have been reducing the cost and improving the performance of fuel cell systems in order to compete with traditional technologies.
Pacific Fuel Cell began manufacturing BPPs with the purchase in 2006 of equipment and licensing of material from SGL Group, Germany. Pacific Fuel Cell’s decision to expand its participation in the fuel cell supply chain came about as the company recognized that its nanoMEA and BPP customers are the same and producing both products creates strong business synergies. In addition to Pacific Fuel Cell being the exclusive molder of BPPs in the USA using SGL’s Sigracet BBP4 compound material, the company has strong relationships with other leading graphite compound suppliers, including BMCI.