Volkswagen is developing high temperature phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC), which is believes is the future for the hydrogen auto industry. The prototype fuel cell that Volkswagen has developed is 30-percent smaller than the smallest fuel cell on the market.
According to Volkswagen, one of the major advantages of the high temperature fuel cell is that they can be produced smaller, lighter and more compact than traditional low temperature fuel cells. Low temperature proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells operate at temperatures of around 175 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas high temperature fuel cells may operate in the range of 250 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Phosphoric acid fuel cells were the first fuel cells to be sold commercially. United Technologies Corporation sold the first PAFC devices as stationary cells that supply power to places such as New York City’s Central Park police station.
Volkswagen says that the first prototype vehicles to be tested with the PAFC would be available in 2009.