THORNTON CLEVELEYS, ENGLAND — Victrex plc has signed a deal with a Canadian company to develop and manufacture proton-conductive polymers for use in fuel cells.
Victrex and Ballard Power Systems Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, will develop a process for making proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells for transportation and electricity generation.
Victrex expects to invest about $750,000 annually for four years of development. Then the firm will invest as much as 17 million ($25 million) to set up and run two ionomer pilot plants, probably in the United Kingdom. The material produced will be used in membranes for Ballard's fuel cells, according to Thornton Cleveleys-based Victrex.
Each pilot plant will have maximum capacity of 110 million pounds per year, enough to supply fuel cells for 100,000 vehicles or 1 million 1-kilowatt portable power plants.
Victrex's fuel-cell membrane material is a sulphanated polyaryletherketone polymer, according to a company spokesman.
The fuel cell combines hydrogen — obtained from methanol, natural gas, petroleum or renewable sources — and oxygen from the air, without combustion, to generate electricity, according to Victrex.