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High Purity H2 from Sunlight via a Unique Combination of Novel Photodiodes and Membranes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-21-C-0076
Agency Tracking Number: A2-8544
Amount: $1,098,869.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: A19B-T015
Solicitation Number: 19.B
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-06-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-06-02
Small Business Information
410 Sackett Point Road
North Haven, CT 06473-3168
United States
DUNS: 178154456
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Subir Roychoudhury
 (203) 287-3700
Business Contact
 Anthony K. Anderson
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Research Institution
 University of Michigan
 Caitlin Jost
3033 South State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1274
United States

 (734) 764-9115
 Nonprofit College or University

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) together with University of Michigan (UMich) experimentally confirmed the capability of one-step solar water splitting to H2 and O2 and the potential for subsequent PEM quality H2 generation via a unique membrane architecture. The disruptive photodiode approach does not require the use of electricity or conductive electrolyte, as required for electrolysis. The novel membrane uses a passive approach to separate H2 and also avoids the needs for electricity. Maturation of the approach will support resource-scavenging in the battlefield to minimize logistic fuel supply burden and highlights the potential for direct onsite H2 generation, without the need for electricity, as long as water and sunlight are available. Preliminary tests indicated the ability to use greywater as a resource. Pathways for increasing solar to hydrogen efficiency were demonstrated. Production rates of 3x greater than the Phase I target was observed. Designs for scaling-up to 1 kg H2/day were also identified. During Phase II, remaining challenges will be addressed and the H2 production and separation design matured. These include maximizing photodiode efficiency, quantifying greywater suitability, improving membrane selectivity and durability, scaling up the design for practical applications, developing a standalone system with minimal parasitic power needs and all balance of plant components, and identifying cost and manufacturing viability.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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