New Proton Exchange Membranes with Improved Methanol Permeability for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-03ER83728
Agency Tracking Number: 72452S03-II
Amount: $0.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Nanosonic, Inc.
P.O. Box 618, Christiansburg, VA, 24068
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeffrey Mecham
 (540) 953-1785
Business Contact
 Richard Claus
Title: Dr.
Phone: (540) 953-1785
Research Institution
72452-Current membrane technology needs to be improved if direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) are to be used to power electronic devices. Polymer electrolyte/proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems represent an environmentally friendly power source for a wide range of applications ¿ transportation, stationary power generation, and consumer electronics. This project will develop and commercialize ion-conducting thermally stable polymers for use as high-temperature, proton-exchange-membrane/membrane-electrode-assembly (PEM/MEA) materials with low methanol permeability as components of DMFC. In Phase I, sulfonated ion-conducting sites were introduced via direct polymerization, allowing control of both their location and concentration. The research showed not only that the materials could be synthesized, but also that they exceed the conductivity and methanol permeability performance of perfluorinated sulfonic acid Nafion materials at or above room temperature. Phase II will optimize the design and fabrication of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) using an inkjet deposition technique to control the location, thickness, and porosity of the electrode nanocomposites on to the proton exchange membrane. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: New low cost and high performance membrane materials would allow the PEM fuel cell concept to be extended to other applications where output stability may be a major concern: e.g., portable remote power or regenerative fuel cells. In addition, the technology could find use as part of a computing power system, where system downtime is unacceptable.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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