Membrane fuel cells have advanced well beyond the demonstration stage. BASF is bringing on line a plant to manufacture membrane electrode assemblies in Somerset, NJ, augmenting existing production in Germany.
High-temperature fuel cells could soon be used for portable applications in camping or even to supply electricity and heat in private homes. Electronics OEMs think that fuel cells could provide up to five times longer life cycles for mobile telephones, radio equipment and laptops.
The German aerospace industry is also conducting tests that could lead to the membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) being used to provide onboard power for Airbus A320s. MEAs powered a recent test flight of a motorized glider.