ElringKlinger has filed a patent for a cell contacting system for electrochemical devices. The system includes multiple cell groups with electrochemical cells, each having first and second cell terminals. The system utilizes a cell connector to electrically connect the cell terminals of different cell groups, allowing for relative movement between the terminals while maintaining electrical connection. GlobalData’s report on ElringKlinger gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on ElringKlinger, hydrogen fuel cells was a key innovation area identified from patents. ElringKlinger's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A cell contacting system for electrochemical devices

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: ElringKlinger AG

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230207950A1) describes a cell contacting system for an electrochemical device. The system consists of multiple cell groups, each containing one or more electrochemical cells. The electrochemical cells are arranged in a longitudinal direction, with the first cell terminals following each other in a first cell terminal region and the second cell terminals following each other in a second cell terminal region. The cell contacting system includes at least one cell connector that electrically connects the cell terminals of different cell groups. The cell connector has a first contact region for the first cell group and a second contact region for the second cell group. The cell connector extends obliquely to the longitudinal direction, with an intermediate region connecting the contact regions. The cell connector is designed with beads or angular bends running parallel to the longitudinal direction and obliquely to the intermediate region's longitudinal axis.

In one embodiment, the second cell group is arranged directly adjacent to the first cell group. However, in another embodiment, the second cell group may not be directly adjacent to the first cell group. In this case, the cell connector extends across a cell group between the first and second cell groups. The electrochemical cells are arranged between two face sides of the device, which are transverse to the longitudinal direction and spaced apart. The cell contacting system has two power connections of different polarity, which may end on the same or different face sides of the device.

The cell contacting system may include multiple cell connectors that do not overlap or at least two cell connectors that cross over each other. In the latter case, electrically insulating insulation elements may be placed between the crossing cell connectors. Additionally, at least one cell connector may cross a degassing outlet of an electrochemical cell and have a gas guidance channel section in the crossing region. The system may also include a support element on which multiple cell connectors are arranged, with the support element crossing a degassing outlet and having a gas guidance channel.

The cell connectors may have recesses in their contact regions to separate sections for contacting different cell terminals of the same cell group. Alternatively, the contact regions may have elastically and/or plastically deformable compensation sections that connect sections for contacting different cell terminals. The cell connectors can be manufactured by separating them from a sheet-like starting material, which includes a first material section for the contact region and a second material section for the intermediate region. The first material may contain aluminum, while the second material may contain copper. The first and second material sections are connected by a substance-to-substance bond.

Overall, this patent describes a cell contacting system for electrochemical devices that allows for efficient electrical connection between different cell groups. The system's design and features, such as oblique cell connectors and gas guidance channels, aim to improve the performance and reliability of electrochemical devices.

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