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Fuel Cell Manufacturing: Opportunities And Challenges

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Materials and Manufacturing Processes

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.628.1 - 9.628.12



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Paper Authors

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Scott Danielson

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Al Post

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Bradley Rogers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1463

Fuel Cell Manufacturing: An Introduction to Opportunities and Challenges

Al Post, Brad Rogers, Scott Danielson, Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Arizona State University


Recent events have lead to surging interest in alternative energy sources and their utilization. One example is the fuel cell. Fuel cells are seen as clean energy sources for a number of applications, including automobiles and power supplies for homes. As a result, there are significant research efforts being made to develop fuel cells and to improve their competitiveness in cost per kilowatt compared to more conventional energy sources. In addition, if fuel cells are to be used in high volume products, they must be manufactured efficiently and in quantity.

This situation presents opportunity for both professionals and educators in the manufacturing field. Currently, fuel cells are low volume products that are often built to order, with resulting higher costs and longer lead times. Many of the key components of fuel cells are not made using high production techniques. Successful evolution of the fuel cell industry requires production research and the application of modern manufacturing principles, as well as a supply of graduates from manufacturing programs in which these principles have been emphasized.

This paper introduces readers to some aspects of fuel cell manufacturing impeding efficient production. A brief description of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology, components, and the current state of the art of their manufacture are presented. Educational challenges and specific efforts to address them currently underway within in the College of Technology and Applied Sciences (CTAS) at Arizona State University (ASU) are discussed. An annotated bibliography related to fuel cell manufacturing is also included as an aid to others interested in the topic.


Recent events have led to renewed efforts to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels, and to reduce the impact of energy conversion processes on the environment. A technology with potential to solve both of these problems is the fuel cell. Fuel cells are direct energy conversion devices that use an electrochemical reaction to produce power in an external circuit. Suitable reactions involve the exchange of ions across an electrolyte, with the electrons flowing through an external circuit from which electrical power can be utilized. There are many electrochemical reaction/electrolyte combinations used to produce power in this manner. A particularly promising and widely used technology is the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Danielson, S., & Post, A., & Rogers, B. (2004, June), Fuel Cell Manufacturing: Opportunities And Challenges Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13187

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015