PCBFC: The Low Cost Fuel Cell

PCBFC: The Low Cost Fuel Cell

Something that we at Bramble Energy talk a lot about is our cost leadership within the fuel cell industry. But you may wonder, what exactly that is, how it works and how much could the saving really be? Well, here are the facts …

Bramble Energy’s cost advantage comes from manufacturing fuel cells in a completely revolutionary way. We’ve ripped up the antiquated fuel cell handbook in favour of a new approach; this has meant cost savings at every step of the way through three fundamental elements:

A simplified bill of materials

Traditional fuel cell stacks are made up of a multitude of complex components including:

  1. Bipolar plates
  2. Endplates
  3. Compression system
  4. Coolant gasket
  5. Current collectors
  6. End gaskets

Each of these components is bespoke to the traditional fuel cell and therefore is either manufactured on an individual line, or more often in completely separate supply chains. With Bramble Energy’s PCBFC these separate functions are all provided by the printed circuit board thereby reducing the supply chain to a single factory.

The simplification in the bill of materials relates directly to the number of failure points within the stack and the advantage is made obvious when the number of components required in the manufacture of a PCBFC stack compared to a traditional stack of the same size as shown in the figure below.

As well as fewer factories, manufacturers and reliability issues, the actual component cost of manufacture is also significantly reduced compared to traditional fuel cell constructions as outlined in the table below.

2.       Using an already established high volume manufacturing industry

The very bespoke nature of fuel cell component manufacture requires factories and high precision production lines to be set up, each carrying out very specific tasks and procedures. Understandably, setting up facilities such as these can costs 10’s of millions of pounds in capital expenditure.

However, in manufacturing the PCBFC™, Bramble Energy’s capital investment is and will always be £0. Yes, £0!

The reason for this is simple. We’re the only fuel cell manufacturer able to leverage the already existing, contract manufacturing, high volume PCB industry and supply chain. Put simply, the infrastructure needed to manufacture the PCBFC is already here, no need to invest in and build anything additional.

 Seems like a good idea to us…

3.       Scaling the only fuel cell gigawatt supply chain

When traditional fuel cell manufacturers scale to increase their capacity, they are required to reinvest heavily; because simply put, to produce twice the fuel cell capacity requires twice the manufacturing facilities. Any investment in facilities, equipment and staff has not only an associated cost, but also incurs a massive time penalty.

As Bramble Energy scale however, we won’t face any of these issues. This is because we can achieve a rapid, cost-effective scalability at any PCB facility worldwide within a matter of days! Theoretically, Bramble Energy could scale production up to 100’s, 1,000’s and 10’s of thousands times our current production within days.

10,000x scalability within days

Bramble Energy operate in the fuel cell world like Apple do in the world of electronics. We design fuel cells, that can be manufactured at any PCB factory worldwide. This gives us the very unique advantage of having gigafactories around all around the world without any capital investment.

To give you a sense of the scale we’re talking about, in 2018 the world produced 600 MW of hydrogen fuel cell hardware (www.e4tech.com). Bramble Energy could achieve this in 2.5 months at any one of the numerous high volume PCB plants around the world.

Our novel approach to fuel cell manufacturing which concentrates on these 3 fundamental steps have ensured that Bramble Energy are able to compete competitively with traditional electricity generating technologies rather than just other fuel cell companies; something the world desperately needs in order to transition to a low carbon economy.

Vidal Bharath


Do you have an application that could benefit from Bramble Energy’s revolutionary, low cost PCBFC technology? Or perhaps you’d like to find out more about Bramble Energy, fuel cells, the hydrogen economy and collaborating? If so, get in touch HERE, or send an email directly to enquiries@brambleenergy.com. Be sure to follow us on social media with the handle @brambleenergy and sign up for quarterly updates via our newsletter HERE.