Hyzon Motors has filed a patent for a method of assembling a fuel cell humidifier. The method involves partially melting a first humidifier plate and fusing it with a humidifier membrane, allowing for improved humidification of a fuel cell stack. The patent also includes a claim for a humidifier with a fused top plate surface and bottom membrane surface. GlobalData’s report on Hyzon Motors 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 Hyzon Motors, hydrogen fuel cells was a key innovation area identified from patents. Hyzon Motors's grant share as of September 2023 was 23%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Method for assembling a fuel cell humidifier

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Hyzon Motors Inc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230299315A1) describes a humidifier designed specifically for humidifying a fuel cell stack. The humidifier consists of a first humidifier plate with a top plate surface and a humidifier membrane with a bottom membrane surface fused with the top plate surface of the humidifier plate.

In addition to the first humidifier plate and humidifier membrane, the patent also includes a second humidifier plate with a bottom plate surface fused with the top membrane surface of the humidifier membrane. The first and second humidifier plates are sealed together, with the seal bounding the humidifier membrane.

Both the first and second humidifier plates have a plate main body with a plurality of header apertures and a flow field circumscribed by a lip. The flow field includes lattice apertures separated by connecting bridges. The plate main body also has grooves disposed adjacent to the header apertures and the flow field. The connecting bridges have spacers configured to receive the humidifier membrane.

Importantly, the humidifier described in the patent does not include a substantial compression and retention system. The humidifier plate is manufactured from a material that does not substantially melt at room temperature or a selected operating temperature. However, the material is configured to partially melt at a temperature higher than the room temperature or the selected operating temperature, allowing the bottom membrane surface of the humidifier membrane to permeate into the top plate surface of the humidifier plate.

The patent also describes a fuel cell system that includes the aforementioned humidifier. The fuel cell system consists of a fuel cell stack that outputs a wet fluid stream, a fluid source that outputs a dry fluid stream, and the humidifier. The humidifier is configured to receive the wet fluid stream and the dry fluid stream and humidify the dry fluid stream with the wet fluid stream, resulting in a humidified fluid stream that is provided to the fuel cell stack.

Overall, this patent presents a novel humidifier design specifically tailored for fuel cell stacks. The design includes multiple humidifier plates, a humidifier membrane, and a unique sealing mechanism. The absence of a compression and retention system and the use of a specific material for the humidifier plate contribute to the functionality of the device. The patent also highlights the application of the humidifier in a fuel cell system, where it plays a crucial role in humidifying the dry fluid stream before it is supplied to the fuel cell stack.

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