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Ionbond solutions for lifetime extension in the fuel cell sector

04 September 2020

Are you aiming to be part of the global breakthrough of hydrogen-based electricity? Covid-19 has shown us the benefits of living in a clean environment. This will boost the drive toward electrification and clean power generation, of which the hydrogen economy is an important and growing leg.

Fuel cells, in so-called stacks, transform hydrogen into electricity, and electrolyzer stacks do the opposite. With developments in lifetime extension and performance, these stacks will soon unlock efficient, environmentally friendly storage of wind and solar energy and transform long-distance transport, emergency power generation, and many other applications. Ionbond offers coating solutions that will help you bring that world a little closer.

A challenge for fuel cell and electrolyzer stack development is the contradictory requirements for the metal bipolar plates (bpp) inside: high performance requires high electrical conductivity, but the desired lifetime requires low conductivity for corrosion protection. Ionbond now offers two coating types that are developed and optimized to meet these conflicting needs.

Titanium + carbon (Ti+C)

This coating solution suits applications with medium lifetime expectations, such as passenger cars. A lifespan of around 7000 hours is the benchmark for these vehicles. The Ionbond Ti+C coating is a layer of diamond-like carbon deposited on top of a titanium adhesion layer – ideal for very high volumes and low cost per coating.

DOT™ technology

This premium solution is ideal for applications with an extreme lifetime expectation, such as trucks, buses, trains and electrolyzers. Here, 20,000 hours is a typical benchmark. The Ionbond coating with DOT™ technology solves the conflicting requirements for bpp coatings in two steps. First, thermally spraying droplets of an inert metal like gold onto titanium. Second, oxidizing the plate. The inert dots will remain highly conductive, while titanium oxide provides the high electrical resistance to protect the plate against corrosion. For non-titanium bpps, like stainless steel, a Ti layer is applied by physical vapor deposition (PVD) prior to DOT deposition.

Ionbond as global partner in bipolar plate coating

At Ionbond, we would like to be your partner in fuel cell coatings. Our expertise can guide you through the entire process, from sampling and testing to small-scale production and finally large-scale production. We can provide our coatings through some of our coating centers, coat for you within your own factory and, with our IHI sister company Hauzer, eventually build your in-house coating capacity. With decades of experience assisting customers new to the coating business and a global footprint to support coating needs worldwide, we provide results you can rely on.

For more information about bpp coatings and fuel cell lifetime extension, please contact our fuel cell experts ( or visit our virtual booth at F-Cell & HFC 2020 Vancouver.