Emerging fuel cell industry is strongly committed to mitigate materials degradation issues in an effort to bring the operational life of fuel cells closer to the projected multi-year design. A particularly important problem is performance degradation or failure of the bipolar plate component caused by metallic corrosion attack. This paper reviews the recent patent literature on corrosion protection methods for metal bipolar plates in the sector of PEM, MCFC and SOFC fuel cells. Developments in corrosion technology during the past decade have been analyzed with the purpose to individuate the most interesting trends and future technology opportunities. It has been found that cost-effective, environmentalfriendly and easy-to-implement surface overlay coating treatments account for the largest number of published patents in the attempt to alleviate the cost burdens of the bipolar plate component. In general, further improving of the most promising corrosion-resistant coating systems is recognized as an important issue for future research. Potential exists also for transfer of MCFC and SOFC corrosion technology to other high temperature process industries.
Keywords: fuel cell, metal bipolar plates, metallic corrosion, corrosion, interconnect, corrosion-resistant coatings, surface modification, PEM, MCFC, SOFC, electrochemical methods, PEM bipolar plates, MCFC bipolar plates, PEM fuel cell, corrosion resistance
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