Patents by Inventor Robert M. Darling

Robert M. Darling has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10651484
    Abstract: Fuel cell reactant flow field plates (22, 32) are formed by extruding long sections (17, 25) of carbonaceous material, either with straight grooves (18, 28) formed by the extrusion die, or by end milling or arbor milling, and then cut to a proper size, including cuts in which the edges of the plates are at an angle with respect to the grooves. Cooler plates are formed of water-permeable material (39) in which hydrophobic material (40) is impregnated so as to define coolant channels (42-44) with inlets and outlets (47, 49). A two-layer cooler plate is formed by stamping voids in one layer (51) that define coolant flow channels (52) with inlets (54) and outlets (56) while a second layer (59) is stamped with voids (61, 62) that define coolant inlet and exit headers; juxtaposition of the layers, with or without bonding, form the cooler plate. A cooler plate (65) is made by corrugating thin metal sheet, providing coolant channels (68) for cathodes and coolant channels (73) for anodes when interposed therebetween.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2020
    Assignee: AUDI AG
    Inventors: Timothy W. Patterson, Jr., Thomas H. Madden, Robert M. Darling, Glenn M. Allen
  • Patent number: 10520465
    Abstract: A gas detection device including a vessel, wherein the vessel contains an aqueous solution, and a sensing element operably coupled to the vessel, wherein the sensing element is not in direct contact with the aqueous solution.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: CARRIER CORPORATION
    Inventors: Michael L. Perry, Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 10096852
    Abstract: A fuel cell includes a water transport plate providing a water flow field. The water flow field permits a flow of water having an entrained gas. A vent is in fluid communication with the water flow field. At least some of the gas is released from fuel cell by opening a vent. In a disclosed example, a valve is opened in response to conditions indicative of an undesired amount of gas. For example, the valve is actuated in response to a signal from a water level sensor. In another example, the valve is opened based upon a schedule.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventor: Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 9966612
    Abstract: The fuel flow channels (20a) of the end fuel cell (9a) at the anode end (34) of a fuel cell stack are significantly deeper than the fuel flow field channels (20) of the remaining fuel cells (9) in the stack, whereby fuel starvation caused by ice in the fuel flow channels is avoided during cold startup. The fuel flow field channels of the end cell (9) at the anode end of the stack is between about 0.15 mm and about 1.5 mm deeper than the fuel flow field channels in the remaining fuel cells of the stack, or between about 35% and about 65% deeper than the fuel flow field channels in the remaining fuel cells of the stack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventors: Timothy W. Patterson, Jr., Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 9917314
    Abstract: A method of operating a fuel cell power plant (10) including a stack (11) of fuel cells having an anode catalyst layer and a cathode electrode (15) including a catalyst layer disposed on catalyst support material is characterized by, during normal operation of said power plant, adjusting the voltage of the stack to be substantially equal to or less than a predetermined maximum voltage for the temperature of the stack. Further, said step of adjusting comprises adjusting the stack voltage to the lesser of: a) a predetermined voltage above which corrosion of catalyst support material is significant and below which corrosion of catalyst support material is insignificant at the temperature of the stack; and b) a predetermined voltage above which dissolution of catalyst is significant and below which dissolution of the catalyst is insignificant at the temperature of the stack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2018
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventors: Robert M. Darling, Paravastu Badrinarayanan, Carl A. Reiser
  • Patent number: 9755255
    Abstract: Fuel cell systems and related methods involving accumulators with multiple regions of differing water fill rates are provided. At least one accumulator region with a relatively more-rapid fill rate than another accumulator region is drained of water at shutdown under freezing conditions to allow at least that region to be free of water and ice. That region is then available to receive water from and supply water to, a fuel cell nominally upon start-up. The region having the relatively more-rapid fill rate may typically be of relatively lesser volume, and may be positioned either relatively below or relatively above the other region(s).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2017
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventors: Robert M. Darling, Timothy W. Patterson, Jr., Michael L. Perry, Jonathan O'Neil
  • Publication number: 20170234829
    Abstract: A gas detection device including a vessel, wherein the vessel contains an aqueous solution, and a sensing element operably coupled to the vessel, wherein the sensing element is not in direct contact with the aqueous solution.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 15, 2017
    Publication date: August 17, 2017
    Inventors: Michael L. Perry, Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 9570763
    Abstract: A fuel cell power plant (36) has vertical fuel cells (102) each sharing a half of a hybrid separator plate (100) which includes a solid fuel flow plate (105) having horizontal fuel flow channels (106) on one surface and coolant channels (108) on an upper portion of the opposite surface, bonded to a plain rear side of a porous, hydrophilic oxidant flow field plate (115) having vertical oxidant flow channels (118). Coolant permeates through the upper portion of the porous, hydrophilic oxidant flow field plates and enters the oxidant flow channels, where it evaporates as the water trickles downward through the oxidant flow field channels, thereby cooling the fuel cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2017
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventors: Christopher John Carnevale, Timothy W. Patterson, Jr., Robert M. Darling, Paravastu Badrinarayanan, Michael L. Perry
  • Patent number: 9455455
    Abstract: Fuel cells (38) have passageways (83, 84) that provide water through one or both reactant gas flow field plates (75, 81) of each fuel cell, whereby the fuel cell is cooled evaporatively. The water passageways may be vented by a porous plug (not shown), or by a microvacuum pump (89). A condenser (59) may have a reservoir (64); the condenser (59) may be a vehicle radiator. A highly water permeable wicking layer (90) is disposed adjacent to one or both water passageways (83, 84) which exist between individual fuel cells (38). The passageways may be flow-through passageways (83) (FIG. 5) or they may be interdigitated passageways (83a, 83b) (FIG. 6) in order to increase the flow of water-purging air through the wicking layer (90) utilized to clear the stack of water during shutdown in cold environments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 27, 2016
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventors: Tommy Skiba, Robert M. Darling
  • Publication number: 20150349363
    Abstract: A fuel cell includes a water transport plate providing a water flow field. The water flow field permits a flow of water having an entrained gas. A vent is in fluid communication with the water flow field. At least some of the gas is released from fuel cell by opening a vent. In a disclosed example, a valve is opened in response to conditions indicative of an undesired amount of gas. For example, the valve is actuated in response to a signal from a water level sensor. In another example, the valve is opened based upon a schedule.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 11, 2015
    Publication date: December 3, 2015
    Inventor: Robert M. DARLING
  • Publication number: 20150288005
    Abstract: Fuel cell reactant flow field plates (22, 32) are formed by extruding long sections (17, 25) of carbonaceous material, either with straight grooves (18, 28) formed by the extrusion die, or by end milling or arbor milling, and then cut to a proper size, including cuts in which the edges of the plates are at an angle with respect to the grooves. Cooler plates are formed of water-permeable material (39) in which hydrophobic material (40) is impregnated so as to define coolant channels (42-44) with inlets and outlets (47, 49). A two-layer cooler plate is formed by stamping voids in one layer (51) that define coolant flow channels (52) with inlets (54) and outlets (56) while a second layer (59) is stamped with voids (61, 62) that define coolant inlet and exit headers; juxtaposition of the layers, with or without bonding, form the cooler plate. A cooler plate (65) is made by corrugating thin metal sheet, providing coolant channels (68) for cathodes and coolant channels (73) for anodes when interposed therebetween.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 19, 2012
    Publication date: October 8, 2015
    Inventors: Timothy W. Patterson, Thomas H. Madden, Robert M. Darling, Glenn M. Allen
  • Patent number: 9147898
    Abstract: The system (10) controls at least one of a pressure of the reactant streams (16A, 16B) within at least one of an anode flow field (28) and a cathode flow field (36), a flow rate of the reactant streams (16A, 16B) flowing through the anode and/or cathode flow fields (26, 28), a temperature of a coolant fluid passing through a sealed coolant flow field (44), and a flow rate of the coolant fluid; so that water (14) moves from a water reservoir (18A, 18B) into the reactant stream (16A, 16B) whenever power generated by the fuel cell (20) is between about 80% and about 100% of a maximum fuel cell power output, and so that water (14) moves from the reactant stream (16A, 16B) into the water reservoir (18A, 18B) whenever fuel cell power is less than about 75% of the maximum power output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 29, 2015
    Assignee: Audi AG
    Inventor: Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 9029031
    Abstract: A fuel cell stack (10) is operated with a low air utilization which is very low when the stack is providing low current density, and is operated with air utilization increasing as a function of current density above a predetermined current density.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2015
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Robert M. Darling
  • Publication number: 20150030946
    Abstract: Fuel cell systems and related methods involving accumulators with multiple regions of differing water fill rates are provided. At least one accumulator region with a relatively more-rapid fill rate than another accumulator region is drained of water at shutdown under freezing conditions to allow at least that region to be free of water and ice. That region is then available to receive water from and supply water to, a fuel cell nominally upon start-up. The region having the relatively more-rapid fill rate may typically be of relatively lesser volume, and may be positioned either relatively below or relatively above the other region(s).
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 10, 2014
    Publication date: January 29, 2015
    Inventors: Robert M. Darling, Timothy W. Patterson, JR., Michael L. Perry, Jonathan O'Neil
  • Patent number: 8932775
    Abstract: A fuel cell system includes a fuel cell, a controller, a resistance sensor, and a regulator. The fuel cell has a cathode plate, an anode plate, and an ion-exchange membrane interposed between the cathode plate and the anode plate. The controller is for controlling a gas flow rate to the anode plate. The resistance sensor is coupled to the fuel cell for measuring a resistance of the fuel cell. The regulator is coupled to the controller and coupled to the anode plate for regulating the gas flow to the anode plate. The controller receives a signal from the resistance sensor and is configured to control the regulator to adjust the gas flow to the anode plate based on the signal from the resistance sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 13, 2015
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Shigetaka Hamada, Robert M. Darling, Shampa Kandoi
  • Publication number: 20150004515
    Abstract: The fuel flow channels (20a) of the end fuel cell (9a) at the anode end (34) of a fuel cell stack are significantly deeper than the fuel flow field channels (20) of the remaining fuel cells (9) in the stack, whereby fuel starvation caused by ice in the fuel flow channels is avoided during cold startup. The fuel flow field channels of the end cell (9) at the anode end of the stack is between about 0.15 mm and about 1.5 mm deeper than the fuel flow field channels in the remaining fuel cells of the stack, or between about 35% and about 65% deeper than the fuel flow field channels in the remaining fuel cells of the stack.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 24, 2012
    Publication date: January 1, 2015
    Applicant: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy W. Patterson, JR., Robert M. Darling
  • Patent number: 8916301
    Abstract: In a proton exchange membrane fuel cell power plant (9) in which each of the fuel cells (11) employ reactant gas flow field channels (51) extending inwardly from a first surface of a conductive, water permeable reactant gas flow field plate (50), for at least one of the reactants of the fuel cell, a region (63) of the reactant gas flow field channels is substantially shallower than the remaining portion (60) of the flow field channels (51) thereby decreasing resistance to gas phase mass transfer from the wetted walls of the flow field plate to the gas in the region (63), the resulting increase in thickness of the web (58) adjacent the region (63) reduces the resistance to liquid water transport from the first coolant channel (52) to the inlet edge (55) of the plate (50) so that the plate supports a higher evaporation rate into the reactant gas in the shallow region (63).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2014
    Assignee: Ballard Power Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Robert M. Darling
  • 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
  • Publication number: 20140162152
    Abstract: The system (10) controls at least one of a pressure of the reactant streams (16A, 16B) within at least one of an anode flow field (28) and a cathode flow field (36), a flow rate of the reactant streams (16A, 16B) flowing through the anode and/or cathode flow fields (26, 28), a temperature of a coolant fluid passing through a sealed coolant flow field (44), and a flow rate of the coolant fluid; so that water (14) moves from a water reservoir (18A, 18B) into the reactant stream (16A, 16B) whenever power generated by the fuel cell (20) is between about 80% and about 100% of a maximum fuel cell power output, and so that water (14) moves from the reactant stream (16A, 16B) into the water reservoir (18A, 18B) whenever fuel cell power is less than about 75% of the maximum power output.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 11, 2011
    Publication date: June 12, 2014
    Applicant: UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION
    Inventor: Robert M. Darling
  • Publication number: 20130260274
    Abstract: A fuel cell power plant (36) has vertical fuel cells (102) each sharing a half of a hybrid separator plate (100) which includes a solid fuel flow plate (105) having horizontal fuel flow channels (106) on one surface and coolant channels (108) on an upper portion of the opposite surface, bonded to a plain rear side of a porous, hydrophilic oxidant flow field plate (115) having vertical oxidant flow channels (118). Coolant permeates through the upper portion of the porous, hydrophilic oxidant flow field plates and enters the oxidant flow channels, where it evaporates as the water trickles downward through the oxidant flow field channels, thereby cooling the fuel cell.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 23, 2010
    Publication date: October 3, 2013
    Inventors: Christopher John Carnevale, Timothy W. Patterson, JR., Robert M. Darling, Paravastu Badrinarayanan, Michael L. Perry