The demand

The beginning of the 21st century has brought about a change in energy demands where the consumer expects a more mobile form of energy. These energy demands can be for professional needs (electrical equipment), for remote locations (lack of existing infrastructures) and for leisure purposes. Each end-user wants a self-contained energy source adapted

The fuel cell solution

Fuel cells are the ideal candidate for replacing these types of energy sources for all sectors of application. There are many advantages to this fuel cell technology as compared to the many existing energy solutions, the specific advantages brought about vary and will depend on the power range required for each application.

High power

Above one kilowatt, the main advantages of fuel cells include the zero-noise level of a running fuel cell and the zero-emission of green-house gas pollution. Fuel cells are extremely competitive when it comes to their performances and their compact size (mass and volume) however the cost of this technology is still very high compared to current internal combustion engine solutions.

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This handicap should be overcome in the next few years due to the arrival of fuel cells in niche market applications such as satellite launchers, submarines, captive fleets of private or public transport vehicles or the electricification of isolated buildings. These first applications will lead to a gain in valuable experience in the methods of fuel cell mass-production procedures and in the maintenance of fuel cells in real-time running conditions. Developments made by fuel cell manufacturers as well as the progressively increasing numbers of fuel cell companies will lead to important reductions in the cost of this technology making it more competitive with current energy solutions on the market today. In general, fuel cell manufacturers derive from mechanical engineering industries or from companies dealing with hydraulic and thermal management systems and they specialise in the assembly and overall integration of these energy sources into complete systems.

Low power

In the power range from a few watts to a few hundreds of watts, fuel cells are already competitive both in terms of performance and cost. An additional advantage is that fuel cell systems can be adapted easily so as to be able to increase either the running time or the power output or both.

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This physical separation of the electrical energy (the fuel cell) from the stored energy (hydrogen) makes fuel cells a very attractive energy source for portable fuel cell applications particularly. A fuel cell will transform chemical energy into electrical energy; its dimensions determine the voltage or the power output for the final application. The energy is stored in a reservoir outside the fuel cell, compared to the case of an automobile where the motor delivers the necessary power to the wheels while the stored energy is provided by the capacity of fuel tank. The integration of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells during the assembly/production phases of the numerous potential portable application products can be considered since their lifetime is equal to or greater than the lifetime of appliances themselves. In that case, the only requirement is to either replace or recharge the fuel reservoir. This technology offers the advantage to the end-user to invest in the power part of the energy source when acquiring his electrical appliance, and simply to refill with fuel to be able to “charge it up”.

Origin of PaxiTech

The project for the creation of the company originated from research carried out on fuel cell components ((membrane electrode assemblies) and on a specific type of fuel cell in a laboratory at the CEA-Grenoble.

CEA - PaxiTech

This specific type of fuel cell was a result of evolutions in the architecture of low temperature fuel cells, which resulted in a much less complex system that could be adapted to portable applications.

Portable fuel cells

The particularity of these fuel cells lies in their electrical performance, notably their high voltage, and in the nature of the constituent components.