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SBIR Phase I: Alternative Membranes for High-Temperature PEM Fuel Cells

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2001 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Giner Electrochemical Systems, LLC
89 Rumford Avenue Newton, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2001
Title: SBIR Phase I: Alternative Membranes for High-Temperature PEM Fuel Cells
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0060204
Award Amount: $99,463.00


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project would develop membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) utilizing alternative polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) for high-temperature fuel cell operation. Under this project, GESC, LLC will develop and test MEAs utilizing polymer films. Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) have received increased attention for supplying power for Next Generation Vehicles due to their high power densities, high efficiency, low environmental impact, ease of assembly and quiet operation. A barrier to PEMFC technology is poisoning of the anode catalyst by CO, a by-product of the reformer. CO poisoning is disfavored at temperatures above 100 degrees C, however current PEMs are prohibited from operating at these temperatures as the membrane loses water necessary for ion conductivity. Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFCs) can operate at elevated temperatures (140-200 degrees C) but are limited due to difficulty in retaining the phosphoric acid. A great need then, exists for a PEMFC membrane that can operate at high temperatures. The goal of this project would be to develop MEAs that incorporate proton transporting phosphoric acid functionalities directly into the PEM through covalent bonds, greatly extending the life of the PEMFC by eliminating the loss of electrolyte. Fuel cells that operate on reformate feed are being developed for both Next Generation Vehicles and stationary power applications. The potential market for a PEMFC that can operate with increased tolerance to CO concentrations in the anode feed is very large. Such a system would not only capture a large sector of this emerging market, but would increase the range of applications for fuel cell systems.

Principal Investigator:

Cortney Mittelsteadt

Business Contact:

Anthony J. Vaccaro
Small Business Information at Submission:

Giner Electrochemical Systems, LLC
14 Spring Street Waltham, MA 02451

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No