BASF: engineering plastic Ultramid now in use as standard to manufacture the anode- and cathode-end plate in fuel cells

Ultramid® setzt neue Maßstäbe für die Brennstoffzelle / Ultramid® is setting new standards for fuel cells

(PRESS RELEASE) LUDWIGSHAFEN, 11-Mar-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — BASF, as the biggest chemical supplier to the automotive industry, is very active on and engaged with things like automotive drive system, energy consumption, emissions, new and improved powertrain concepts for cars, electric drive concepts, among others, along with the major car manufacturers. In general, chemistry is making an important contribution to a number of different electric drive concepts.

And now a breakthrough is made in the field of fuel cells. BASF’s Performance Materials is working closely with Joma-Polytec and Daimler AG’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell over the engineering plastic Ultramid, which has successfully been used to manufacture a number of fuel cell system components. The Ultramid is already in use as standard in the new Mercedes GLC F-CELL, which combines a fuel cell with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Andreas Stockheim, Segment Manager Powertrain and Chassis at BASF:

“Our extensive plastics portfolio offers all sorts of advantages which help us to satisfy specific customer requirements, depending on the drive concept and the specific component. By continually developing new products in close collaboration with our customers, we are also able to adapt our portfolio to trends and changes in the market.”

Plastics are seen to be increasing efficiency across all of the different engines, from hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles to internal combustion ones.

The automotive industry places huge demands on materials with its stringent requirements on high quality and safety. BASF is able to keep pace with the latest developments of car manufacturers, while also setting innovative trends with its polyamides (Ultramid), polybutylene terephthalates (Ultradur®), polyphthalamides (PPA), and the plastics polyoxymethylene (Ultraform®) and polyethersulfone (Ultrason®)

For example, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell is hugely reliant on Ultramid’s properties such as good thermal and chemical resistance, dynamic stiffness, impact strength, and good long-term performance.

Stefan Milimonka, Key Account Manager in BASF’s Performance Materials division:

“Earlier tests with other materials revealed mechanical problems, so Daimler had very specific requirements for the material. Our expertise with plastic automotive components and the extensive choice of existing products meant that we were able to work out possible solutions with our partners and identify the right material. It shows that with specialist knowledge and good cooperation between everyone involved, a complex project like this can be brought to a successful conclusion.”

New development project has been established together with Joma-Polytec GmbH and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH in order to find an optimal solution satisfying the extensive range of requirements including thermal stability, media resistance, and durability.

Based on an intensive material analyses of the chemical and mechanical resistance, a decision has been made on the tailor-made Ultramid grades A3WG10 CR and A3EG7 EQ.

Following rigorous testing of all components, the two glass fiber-reinforced Ultramid grades are now in use as standard to manufacture the anode- and cathode-end plate in fuel cells.

The exceptional purity requirements associated with sensitive applications in the electronics industry has made the Ultramid A3EG7 EQ as an ideal material. Ultramid A3EG7 EQ offers excellent resistance, while meeting all requirements regarding the purity of the material in the case of the media distribution plate and the water separator unit, which is exposed to a wide variety of media through the cooling water, air and hydrogen channel.

Stefan Heinz, deputy head of plastics technology development at Joma-Polytec GmbH:

“Thanks to BASF’s extensive product portfolio and the specialist knowledge of all the parties involved, we have taken an important step forward in the serial development of fuel cells. We worked together to analyze the stringent requirements and were able to put in place a highly efficient solution.”

BASF’s Performance Materials is active in four major industry sectors – transportation, construction, industrial applications and consumer goods encompassing the entire materials know-how of BASF regarding innovative, customized plastics under one roof.

For nearly 60 years, Joma-Polytec has been developing comprehensive solutions in the field of plastic technology for its customers from the prototype, through the production to the subsequent support.

Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH is part of the global fuel cell activities of Daimler AG. The company is active in the research and development of fuel cell systems for motor vehicles, including hydrogen tank systems, in addition to laying the groundwork for hydrogen infrastructure and carrying out demonstration projects.

The company is stepping on profound and long-established expertise in fuel cell technology. Since 1997 activities for the development of fuel cell systems are based at the Nabern location near Kirchheim-Teck. The original initiator was Ballard Research Inc., which founded in 1979 by Geoffrey Ballard in Burnaby, Canada. In 1983 fuel cell technology was developed at Ballard for the first time. 1993 saw the presentation of the first bus to be powered by hydrogen-technology fuel cells. The first ever product of this type was made available on the market in 2001.

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