Patents Assigned to Ballard Power Systems Inc.
  • Patent number: 8835074
    Abstract: A fuel cell includes a cell having a solid oxide electrolyte between electrodes. The cell has a first coefficient of thermal expansion. A metallic support is in electrical connection with one of the electrodes. The metallic support includes a metal substrate and a compliant porous nickel layer that is bonded to the metal substrate between the cell and the metal substrate. The metal substrate has a second coefficient of thermal expansion that nominally matches the first coefficient of thermal expansion of the cell. The metal substrate has a first stiffness and the compliant porous nickel layer has a second stiffness that is less than the first stiffness such that the compliant porous nickel layer can thermally expand and contract with the metal substrate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 16, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Justin R. Hawkes, Sergei F. Burlatsky, Sunil G. Warrier, Shubhro Ghosh, Jean Colpin
  • Publication number: 20140255823
    Abstract: A fuel cell installation includes a support structure and a cell stack assembly that is removably insertable into the support structure from an uninstalled position to an installed position during an installation procedure. The cell stack assembly includes a fitting. An interfacing structure is mounted on one of the support structure in the cell stack assembly. The interfacing structure carries a connector that is configured to receive the fitting in interconnected relationship. At least one of the fitting and the connector floats in a plane relative to the support structure during the installation procedure. In operation, the fitting engages the connector when the cell stack assembly is inserted into the support structure. The fitting is repositioned relative to the connector to ensure that the fitting and connector are aligned with one another and connected upon installation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 20, 2014
    Publication date: September 11, 2014
    Applicant: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Sean M. Blondin, Garrett W. Fink, Robert A. Love, Thomas Rock
  • Patent number: 8828617
    Abstract: In solid polymer fuel cells employing framed membrane electrode assemblies, a conventional anode compliant seal is employed in combination with a cathode non-compliant seal to provide for a thinner fuel cell design, particularly in the context of a fuel cell stack. This approach is particularly suitable for fuel cells operating at low pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Keith M. Martin, Samira Barakat, Emerson R. Gallagher
  • Patent number: 8808934
    Abstract: A fuel cell power plant (5) includes a stack (6) of fuel cells, each of which have an anode (9), a cathode (10), and a PEM (11) disposed between the anode and the cathode. A controller (17) recognizes an indication (67) of no load demand (68) by a load (59), to operate (45) an air recycle loop (44-46) utilizing the process air blower (35) and transfer the power output (57) of the stack from the load (59) to an auxiliary load (60), comprising a resistance which will consume a predetermined small amount of power in response to the current applied thereto, when the stack operates at a critical voltage above which fuel cell corrosion is unacceptable. Fuel and air will also be reduced (16, 40). The controller may cause increased cathode recycle when the critical voltage is reached and increased air when the voltage is a fraction of a volt below the critical voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 3, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 19, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Matthew P. Wilson, Venkateshwarlu Yadha, Carl A. Reiser
  • Patent number: 8795909
    Abstract: A flow field plate for use in a fuel cell includes a porous, wettable plate body including a first reactant gas channel having an inlet portion, a second reactant gas channel having an outlet portion that is adjacent the inlet portion of the first reactant gas channel, and at least one moisture reservoir fluidly connected with pores of the porous, wettable plate body. The at least one moisture reservoir can selectively collect and release moisture received from a reactant gas in the outlet portion to thereby selectively move the moisture from the outlet portion toward the adjacent inlet portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Mason Darling, Shampa Kandoi
  • Patent number: 8785073
    Abstract: A fuel cell includes an inlet manifold that communicates with an inlet pipe. The inlet pipe enters the inlet manifold at a port. A baffle is positioned about the port. The baffle captures and directs fuel away from a side of the inlet manifold that will face a cell stack. A fuel cell incorporating such an inlet manifold is also claimed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 22, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Richard R. Phillips, Michael D. Harrington
  • Patent number: 8771885
    Abstract: Coolant velocity greater than zero everywhere within the coolant channels (78, 85) of fuel cells (38) in a fuel cell stack (37) is assured by providing a flow of biphase fluid in the coolant channels, the flow being created by the outflow of a condenser (59). Positive pressure is applied to the coolant inlet (66) of the coolant channels. Biphase flow from an oxidant exhaust condenser, which may be a vehicle radiator (120), renders the coolant return flow more freeze tolerant. Using biphase flow within the coolant channels eliminates the need for a bubble-clearing liquid pump and reduces liquid inventory and other plumbing; this makes the fuel cell power plant more freeze tolerant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Michael L. Perry, Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 8765322
    Abstract: A fuel cell installation includes a support structure and a cell stack assembly that is removably insertable into the support structure from an uninstalled position to an installed position during an installation procedure. The cell stack assembly includes a fitting. An interfacing structure is mounted on one of the support structure in the cell stack assembly. The interfacing structure carries a connector that is configured to receive the fitting in interconnected relationship. At least one of the fitting and the connector floats in a plane relative to the support structure during the installation procedure. In operation, the fitting engages the connector when the cell stack assembly is inserted into the support structure. The fitting is repositioned relative to the connector to ensure that the fitting and connector are aligned with one another and connected upon installation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Sean M. Blondin, Garrett W. Fink, Robert A. Love, Thomas Rock
  • Patent number: 8765320
    Abstract: A fuel cell assembly (110, 210) has a plurality of fuel cell component elements (112) extending between a pair of end plates (114, 115) to form a stack (116), and plural reactant gas manifolds (120, 220; 122, 222; 124, 224; 126, 226) mounted externally of and surrounding the stack, in mutual, close sealing relationship to prevent leakage of reactant gas in the manifolds to the environment external to the manifolds. The reactant gas manifolds are configured and positioned to maximize sealing contact with smooth surfaces of the stack and the manifolds. One embodiment is configured for an oxidant reactant manifold (120, 124) to overlie the region where the fuel reactant manifold (122, 126) engages the stack. Another embodiment further subdivides an oxidant reactant manifold to include a liquid flow channel (270, 274), which liquid flow channel overlies the region where the fuel reactant manifold (122, 126) engages the stack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Robin J. Guthrie
  • Publication number: 20130059228
    Abstract: A flow field plate comprises a first flow field; an opposing second flow field; and at least one flow channel formed in the first flow field, the at least one flow channel comprising: a first side and an opposing second side separated by an open-faced top and a bottom; and a first side channel formed in a portion of the open-faced top and in a portion of the first side along a continuous length of the at least one flow channel, the first side channel comprising a first side wall and a first bottom wall; wherein the first side wall of the first side channel and the first bottom wall of the first side channel form an obtuse angle in cross-section; and a depth of the bottom of the at least one flow channel is greater than a depth of the bottom wall of the first side channel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 7, 2011
    Publication date: March 7, 2013
    Applicant: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey Dean Glandt, Bevan Hoskyn Moss, Daniel Brent Mackay
  • Publication number: 20120034542
    Abstract: In solid polymer fuel cells employing framed membrane electrode assemblies, a conventional anode compliant seal is employed in combination with a cathode non-compliant seal to provide for a thinner fuel cell design, particularly in the context of a fuel cell stack. This approach is particularly suitable for fuel cells operating at low pressure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 16, 2009
    Publication date: February 9, 2012
    Applicant: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Keith M. Martin, Samira Barakat, Emerson R. Gallagher
  • Patent number: 7632583
    Abstract: Current pulsing improves the performance of fuel cells in a fuel cell stack based power system. Voltage clamping limits the voltage peaks that occur after a current pulse. In a hybrid power system, an electric storage device supplies the loads during current pulsing. The electric storage device may sink current to achieve the voltage clamping, and/or power system may employ other the voltage clamping circuits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 15, 2009
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Martin T. Pearson
  • Patent number: 7521138
    Abstract: A hybrid power module suitable for use in an array of hybrid power modules comprises a fuel cell stack, an energy storage device, charger circuit operable to charge the energy storage device from the fuel cell stack and/or an external power source at approximately a defined voltage; a stack disconnect switch operable to provide and remove an electrical path between the fuel cell stack and a terminal of the power module, and a unidirectional current flow device electrically coupled to provide a unidirectional current path from the charger circuit to the terminal of the power module when forward biased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2009
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Martin T. Pearson
  • Patent number: 7488551
    Abstract: An integrated current collector and electrical component plate for a fuel cell stack is disclosed, comprising a printed circuit board comprising the following layers: a current collection layer, comprising a current collector; a first insulation layer, comprising a first surface and a second surface; an electrical component layer, comprising an electrical component having a first connection site and a second connection site; and a second insulation layer, comprising a first surface and a second surface, wherein the current collection layer is laminated to the first surface of the first insulation layer, and the electrical component layer is laminated between the second surface of the first insulation layer and the first surface of the second insulation layer. A fuel cell stack and methods for manufacturing a fuel cell stack comprising the integrated current collector and electrical component plate are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2009
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Robert H Artibise, Frederick D McKenney, Joerg Zimmermann, Steven D Gabrys, Alexander Mossman
  • Patent number: 7419734
    Abstract: An array of fuel cell systems are electrically couplable in series and/or parallel combinations to provide a variety of output powers, output current and/or output voltages. The fuel cell systems are “hot swappable” and redundant fuel cell systems may automatically replace faulty fuel cell systems to maintain output power, current and/or voltage, with or without switching. The configuration of fuel cell systems may be automatic and may be based on desired power, current and/or voltage, and/or based on the operating parameters of the fuel cell systems and/or power supply system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2008
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Martin T. Pearson
  • Patent number: 7390586
    Abstract: Electrochemical fuel cell stacks comprising a plurality of membrane electrode assemblies stacked in an alternating manner, such that the polarity of adjacent membrane electrode assemblies are opposite, are disclosed. The fuel cell stacks comprise a plurality of membrane electrode assemblies, each membrane electrode assembly comprising an anode fluid distribution layer, a cathode fluid distribution layer, a polymer electrolyte membrane interposed between the anode and cathode fluid distribution layers, an anode electrocatalyst layer interposed between the polymer electrolyte membrane and the anode fluid distribution layer, and a cathode electrocatalyst interposed between the polymer electrolyte membrane and the cathode fluid distribution layer, wherein the plurality of membrane electrode assemblies are stacked in an alternating manner such that the polarity of adjacent membrane electrode assemblies are opposite, and wherein the plurality of membrane electrode assemblies are externally jumpered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2008
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Emerson R Gallagher, Maura H Malone
  • Patent number: 7374838
    Abstract: An electrochemical fuel cell comprises an anode electrocatalyst layer, a cathode electrocatalyst layer, a polymer electrolyte membrane interposed between the anode and cathode electrocatalyst layers, an anode flow field plate, a cathode flow field plate, an anode fluid distribution layer interposed between the anode flow field plate and the anode electrocatalyst layer, and a cathode fluid distribution layer interposed between the cathode flow field plate and the cathode electrocatalyst layer, wherein at least one of the anode and cathode fluid distribution layers decreases in permeability from an inlet to an outlet of the electrochemical fuel cell. Methods for making a substantially fluid impermeable sheet material having a non-uniform pattern of perforations are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2008
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Emerson R. Gallagher
  • Patent number: 7344792
    Abstract: A contacting device comprising a non-metallic, electrically conductive elastomeric composition for providing reliable, corrosion resistant electrical contacts to fuel cell components. Such a contacting device is particularly suitable for measuring voltages at carbon separator plates in a solid polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2003
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2008
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Russell Howard Barton, Wendy Wan Yan Ho, Simon Farrington, Maura H. Malone
  • Patent number: 7309537
    Abstract: An apparatus for recirculating a reactant fluid stream of a fuel cell system, and electric power generation systems comprising the apparatus, are disclosed. The apparatus comprises (1) a common suction chamber fluidly connected to a suction inlet configured to receive a recirculated flow from the exhaust stream of the fuel cell stack, (2) a low-flow nozzle positioned in the common suction chamber and fluidly connected to a low-flow motive inlet configured to receive a first motive flow from a reactant source of the fuel cell stack, (3) a low-flow diffuser fluidly connected to a discharge outlet configured to provide the inlet stream to the fuel cell stack, (4) a high-flow nozzle positioned in the common suction chamber and fluidly connected to a high-flow motive inlet configured to receive the first motive flow from the reactant source, and (5) a high-flow diffuser fluidly connected to the discharge outlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2003
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2007
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Janusz Blaszczyk, Rainer Schmidt, Wolfram Fleck, Paul L. Paterson
  • Patent number: 7303831
    Abstract: Liquid cooled systems having coolant circulation loops must often operate in below freezing conditions. For instance, in various applications certain fuel cell systems must be able to tolerate repeated shutdown and storage in below freezing conditions. Conventional glycol-based coolants typically used for internal combustion engines are generally unsuitable for use in the associated fuel cell cooling subsystems due to the presence of additives and/or inhibitors which are normally included to deal with problems relating to decomposition of the glycol. With additives or inhibitors present, the coolant conductivity can be sufficiently high as to result in electrical shorting or corrosion problems. However, provided the purity of the coolant is maintained, a pure glycol and water coolant mixture may be used as a fuel cell system coolant to obtain suitable antifreeze protection. Adequate purity can be maintained by including an ion exchange resin unit in the cooling subsystem.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2007
    Assignee: Ballard Powers Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Jean St-Pierre, Stephen A Campbell, Mark K Watson, Michael P Sexsmith