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Hyperbranched polymer-electrolyte membrane development for carbon dioxide conversion to solar fuel

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022514
Agency Tracking Number: 0000262820
Amount: $206,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C53-18b
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-02-13
Small Business Information
Berkeley, CA 94710
United States
DUNS: 079865172
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ziyang Huo
 (510) 260-5306
Business Contact
 Etosha Cave
Phone: (510) 833-9312
Research Institution

Using direct sunlight to power the electrochemical reduction of waste CO2 to generate value added products could form the basis of a sustainable carbon cycle to make solar fuels. The polymer electrolyte membrane is one of the most critical components of a CO2 electrolyzer as it selectively transports reactants and prevents unwanted gas crossover. Lack of highly conductive ionomers and polymer electrolyte membranes with superior mechanical robustness and permeation limit the application of solar fuels technology. This project’s goal is to develop a new type of visible light transparent polymer with an aromatic backbone structure with high performance and good durability for CO2 electroreduction. Based on the current outstanding linear polymer materials fabricated for CO2 conversion, a series of branched polymer electrolyte membranes will be developed with the material properties tailored for solar fuel generator. The main technical objectives are to suppress the swelling behavior, gas crossover, CO2 plasticization and improve the mechanical durability. The new ionomers and membranes will then be tested in a CO2 electrolyzer. Results of characterization and performance tests will provide feedback and guide development in large-scale production. The novel integration of aromatic backbone polymer and branching unit will provide a viable solution to fabricate a large area polymer electrolyte membrane and ensure durable performance in solar fuel production. Utilizing low-cost and abundant solar energy to convert CO2 to fuel and value-added chemicals could positively impact the global carbon balance, reduce air pollution, and create new jobs in regions with few opportunities by distributing the production of these materials.

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

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