The heart of PEM electrolysis is the stack, which consists of several so-called bipolar plates in combination with membranes. Extreme demands are placed on these plates and the other components in the stack. But because steel surfaces conduct electricity only moderately well, bipolar plates are often coated with gold. However, gold is expensive. Instead of gold, about 50 to 100 micrometers (thousandths of a millimeter) thin sheet steel with a graphite-like layer just a few nanometers (millionths of a millimeter) thin can be used.
Vacuum cathode sputtering is ideal for this. The aim is to use cheap and light sheet metal plates coated with a suitable cheaper protective layer that meets the required properties. SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES is working, among other things, on the development and optimization of the coating of metallic bipolar plates with suitable nitridic and carbidic protective layers in order to be able to offer a high-quality and cost-efficient manufacturing process for bipolar plates for use in fuel cells and PEM electrolyzers in the near future.