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

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019703
Agency Tracking Number: 0000263992
Amount: $1,150,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: C47-19b
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-04-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-05
Small Business Information
Berkeley, CA 94710
United States
DUNS: 079865172
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Lihui Wang
 (510) 833-9312
Business Contact
 Etosha Cave
Phone: (510) 833-9312
Research Institution
 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
15013 Denver West Pkwy
Golden, CO 80401-3111
United States

 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

Sustainable fuels and chemicals production is necessary for the future of the global economy. Converting waste CO2 into fuel using sunlight is a promising process to close the carbon cycle as well as to store solar energy. An electrochemical process to convert CO2 into solar chemicals and fuels has been developed to enable this conversion. Key to this process is a new polymer- electrolyte design that enables CO2 electroreduction in existing polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzer hardware. PEM electrolyzers are ideal for coupling to intermittent solar power, because they can ramp up and down quickly without performance degradation. Use of this industrially proven electrochemical reactor design to perform this CO2 conversion provides a clear pathway to manufacturability and scalability. Through the Phase I and II awards, the aim is to improve membrane formulation to achieve performance efficiency and selectivity needed to compete with existing chemical and fuels production processes at the large scale and there has been success in taking the scale of new polymer-electrolyte synthesis beyond what can be done in an academic laboratory. In Phase IIA, the goal is to further lower the cost of large-scale material production and to fabricate an industrial-scale polymer-electrolyte membrane with a national laboratory using a roll-to-roll technique. The cost will be much lower than the current commercial proton exchange membrane baseline. 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 production of these materials. The proposed work will therefore have an outsized impact on enabling the scale-up of solar fuels production from CO2.

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

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