Florida Fuel Cell Company Licenses Buckypaper Nanotechnology

Bing Energy, Inc. (BEI), a manufacturer of components for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), has entered into a commercialization agreement with Florida State University that gives the company exclusive use of a technology that it says will create "a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells" that are less expensive, smaller, lighter and more durable.

The technology, developed by Dr. Jim P. Zheng, a professor at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, is said to reduce the need for expensive platinum components in hydrogen fuel cells.

Working with a material known as buckypaper–a form of carbon that is extraordinarily light and that easily conducts heat or electricity–Dr. Zheng designed a thin material, or membrane, that also could allow fuel cells to be smaller while providing the same amount of power.

Until now, fuel cells have been too expensive for mass production and use.

"What Dr. Zheng has developed is truly the ‘better, faster, less expensive’ story applied to fuel cells," said Richard Hennek, vice president for business development at Bing Energy, Inc. "He has cleverly utilized the latest in nanotechnology to provide a dramatically better solution for the PEM fuel cell. Performance improvements of 40-plus percent, durability improvements of 25 percent and all at a lower cost make for a compelling story."

Bing Energy said it will begin production in March of 2011 and serve the domestic and international energy markets.

The company has been subcontracted by the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop a low-cost and high-efficiency 500-watt portable PEMFC system.

Once developed, the product will be brought to market for portable and stationary power generation. Applications will range from temporary emergency power backup for commercial and residential uses, particularly useful in hurricane-prone areas like Florida, to peak leveling and industrial power generation.

Bing Energy, Inc.’s two-year subcontract stems from a grant UCF recently received from the Department of Energy to assist in the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Technologies Program. Under the contract, Bing Energy, Inc. is responsible for developing high-performance 4cm x 4cm membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and a 500W stack prototype using the advantages of the buckypaper-based solution.

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