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13a. Hydrogen Contaminant Detector Transition to Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022618
Agency Tracking Number: 0000266438
Amount: $199,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C54-13a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-06-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-03-26
Small Business Information
21041 S. Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501
United States
DUNS: 080921977
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jeffrey Norell
 (310) 320-1827
Business Contact
 Selvy Utama
Phone: (310) 320-1827
Research Institution

Statement of the problem or situation that is being addressed in your application.
Hydrogen fuel offers a clean and equitable energy economy that helps address the climate crisis while alleviating reliance on foreign oil. However, contaminants in hydrogen fuel can cause expensive and irreparable damage to fuel cells in vehicles and other industrial applications. Current state-of-the-art contaminant detectors are expensive to procure, require constant maintenance, frequent calibration, and have high sustainment costs. Therefore, a new approach or solution is needed that will overcome the weaknesses of current technologies.
General statement of how this problem is being addressed.
A novel, lower-cost analyzer has been designed, installed, and demonstrated by a national laboratory. This analyzer is based on an internal water wicking scheme and platinum catalyst that requires minimal maintenance. Its performance was proven when installed for over a year at a commercial refueling station. Based on this technology, scaling up and commercializing a deployable hydrogen contaminant detector will allow for lower cost and more reliable fuel infrastructure. The scaled-up technology will use sensors and electronics systems to transition to a commercially viable product at a lower cost than the current state-of-the-art analyzer.
What is to be done in Phase I?
After identifying and documenting system requirements, a ruggedized contaminant detector system for all-weather environments will be developed, including any associated electronics and necessary packaging. For installation and maintenance of the system, human factors will be considered. An interface control document will be developed to outline the mechanical, electrical, and communications interfaces to the system, including required built-in test and diagnostics. All required certifications for nationwide commercial installation and servicing will be identified and preliminary system qualification test plans developed. At the completion of the Phase I development, a technical data package and transition to production plan will be drafted to guide Phase II design, test and certification, and transition to low-rate manufacturing.
Commercial Applications and Other Benefits.
The proposed commercial hydrogen contaminant detector product will allow for extremely low-cost monitoring of the quality of hydrogen fuel used in both consumer vehicles and industrial applications. At present, the fuel is analyzed periodically at multi-month intervals to verify they meet strict fuel quality standards. More frequent and continuous monitoring will alert the station operator of critical fuel quality issues to avoid contaminating fuel cell vehicles and causing irreparable damage to the fuel cell. This will ultimately reduce the cost of fuel and cost of vehicle ownership, leading to wider adoption of hydrogen as a clean fuel.

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

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