Low-temperature densification process for the manufacture of compression-molded graphite-based bipolar plates

Principal investigator: Ramakrishnan Rajagopalan

University: Pennsylvania State University-DuBois

Industry partners: Morgan Advanced Materials and Technology, Inc.

The proposed project will demonstrate a cost-effective environmentally friendly manufacturing process to produce graphite bipolar plates for fuel cells, electrolyzers, and flow batteries. Current manufacturing technologies for graphite bipolar plates require consolidation of graphite precursor materials using compression or injection molding followed by high-temperature treatment for baking and graphitization. The proposed process allows for the direct consolidation of graphite powders without the use of any coal, petroleum, or polymer binders resulting in a significant reduction of time during compression molding as well as eliminating the need for additional high-temperature treatment. The low-temperature process is ideally suited for meeting the Department of Energy 2025 metrics for the manufacture of bipolar plates. The work will be done in collaboration with Morgan Advanced Materials Carbon Center of Excellence located at State College, PA. Morgan is a leading manufacturer of carbon and graphite products in Pennsylvania.