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Direct Seawater Electrolyzer/Fuel-Cell Coupled System for Electricity and Potable Water

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-21-C-0110
Agency Tracking Number: N202-123-0906
Amount: $239,994.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N202-123
Solicitation Number: 20.2
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-10-13
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-04-13
Small Business Information
12345 W. 52nd Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-1916
United States
DUNS: 181947730
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Girish Srinivas
 (303) 940-2321
Business Contact
 Mr. John D. Wright
Phone: (303) 940-2300
Research Institution

Renewable energy has the potential to supply energy worldwide, but its variable power output requires it to be coupled with energy storage. One current technology uses electrochemical electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be stored and re-converted into electricity later. However, this process requires ultra-pure water, which is unavailable in many areas in the world, especially in islands and coastal regions. Thus, there is an increasing demand for direct use of seawater in electrolysis processes. The major challenges of using seawater in an electrolyzer are corrosion, chlorine competition, and expensive materials. To solve these problems and improve lifecycle cost effectiveness of the discussed process, TDA proposes a low-cost direct seawater electrolyzer system that can utilize real seawater for electrolysis to supply both electricity and potable water to the military and civilians. In Phase I we will build a proof of concept system and test it using simulated seawater sources. Catalysts and membranes will be designed and tested to meet the performance requirement with a seawater feed. We will then fabricate membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and test them in a lab-scale electrolyzer at TDA. Cell performance and durability will be evaluated and compared to literature in Phase I. We will then perform system size and efficiency calculations and estimate the electricity and water production rate of our system. From this work, we will be able to design a 10kW-level test-bed prototype to be used in Phase II.

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

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