SBIR Phase I: Alternative Membranes for High-Temperature PEM Fuel Cells

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0060204
Agency Tracking Number: 0060204
Amount: $99,463.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2001
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
14 Spring Street, Waltham, MA, 02451
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Cortney Mittelsteadt
 (781) 899-7270
Business Contact
 Anthony Vaccaro
Title: President
Phone: (781) 899-7270
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project would develop membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) utilizing alternative polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) for high-temperature fuel cell operation. Under this project, GESC, LLC will develop and test MEAs utilizing polymer films. Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) have received increased attention for supplying power for Next Generation Vehicles due to their high power densities, high efficiency, low environmental impact, ease of assembly and quiet operation. A barrier to PEMFC technology is poisoning of the anode catalyst by CO, a by-product of the reformer. CO poisoning is disfavored at temperatures above 100 degrees C, however current PEMs are prohibited from operating at these temperatures as the membrane loses water necessary for ion conductivity. Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFCs) can operate at elevated temperatures (140-200 degrees C) but are limited due to difficulty in retaining the phosphoric acid. A great need then, exists for a PEMFC membrane that can operate at high temperatures. The goal of this project would be to develop MEAs that incorporate proton transporting phosphoric acid functionalities directly into the PEM through covalent bonds, greatly extending the life of the PEMFC by eliminating the loss of electrolyte. Fuel cells that operate on reformate feed are being developed for both Next Generation Vehicles and stationary power applications. The potential market for a PEMFC that can operate with increased tolerance to CO concentrations in the anode feed is very large. Such a system would not only capture a large sector of this emerging market, but would increase the range of applications for fuel cell systems.

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

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