Grafoil key to new car fuel cell

Grafoil key to new car fuel cell

Grafoil key to new car fuel cell UCAR International Inc has announced that UCAR Graph-Tech's flexible graphite material will be a key component in the...

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Grafoil key to new car fuel cell UCAR International Inc has announced that UCAR Graph-Tech's flexible graphite material will be a key component in the next generation Ballard fuel cell stack, the Mark 900. Earlier this year, Ford unveiled a new sedan variant of the Ford Focus as the first prototype vehicle using a Ballard Mark 900 Series Fuel Cell Power Module. The formation of UCAR Graph-Tech was previously reported in Sea/ing Technology (No. 70, October 1999). It produces treated graphite flake and flexible graphite, under the trade name GRAFOIL. Flexible graphite is used in gasket applications for sealing internal combustion engines, pipe flanges and process equipment used in the petrochemical and chemical industry. "Working with Ballard, we have developed a proprietary product which has contributed to

achieving the key objectives and design specifications for flow-field plates in automotive applications. The proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell will form the foundation for power generation in future transportation applications," said Mr Playford, UCAR's chairman and chief executive officer (CEO). "The Mark 900 fuel cell stack, which utilizes UCAR Graph-Tech's materials, features a power density increase of almost 30%, occupies approximately half the space and weighs 30% less than the previous automotive fuel cell." Kip Smith, Ballard's president and chief operating officer (COO), added that, "The architecture of the Mark 900 fuel cell incorporates low-cost materials, provides high performance, utilises volume manufacturing

processes, and forms the foundation for fuel cells for transportation, stationary and portable applications. Our strategic alliance with UCAR ensures Ballard has a stable supply of high quality flow-field plate material as we prepare for volume manufacturing." The PEM fuel cell is widely expected to be commercially acceptable as an alternative, environmentally clean, power source to compete with the internal combustion engine for use in the transportation industry. The PEM fuel cell will also offer a competitive alternative for use in stationary, portable power and in other markets. As previously announced, UCAR Graph-Tech Inc and Ballard Power Systems have entered into an exclusive product development collaboration agreement and an exclusive long-term supply agreement.

Auto oil seal market futures Following on from the aforementioned introduction of alternative power plants to the automotive sector, NOK Corp, the Tokyo-based automotive oil-seal maker, is preparing for the day when fuel cells and similar alternative power units dominate the market and fewer oil seals are required. According to Nikkei Weekly, NOK wishes to reduce its dependence on the business of supplying oil seals to most of Japan's makers of vehicles and major auto-parts. NOK and its partner, Germany's Freudenberg & Co, have expressed concern as regards the future of the gasoline-powered engine which has already begun to lose market share to alternative-energy vehicles. N O K believes it will be able to rely on the oil seal business for the next decade and more. However, as a result of this shift in automotive

power units, the company might in a worst case scenario see its parts sales - which are currently over ¥5000 - reduced to around F500 per vehicle. NOK has been conspicuous of late with a number of new business activities including the acquisition of two US parts manufacturers - see Sealing Technology (No. 70, October 1999). In August 1999, NOK bought the cylinder-head gasket maker Detroit Gasket from Charlotte, NC-based Indian Head Industries, and also took a 51% stake in Flexitech Inc, the Delawarebased producer of brake hoses and other hose assemblies. Via its joint venture with Freudenberg, the company is now able to package gaskets and brake hoses with FNGP-made oil seals. The development is expected to boost sales to ¥1 billion.

Contents Commercial news


Static sealing


Dynamic sealing


The worldwide market for sealing products 1998-2004


Standards. update: ASTM






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