STTR Phase II: Development of High Temperature Membranes for Increased PEM Electrolysis Efficiency

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1058328
Agency Tracking Number: 1058328
Amount: $499,977.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: Phase II
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Proton Energy Systems, Inc.
10 Technology Drive, Wallingford, CT, 06492-1955
DUNS: 960306785
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kathy Ayers
 MS
 (203) 678-2338
 kayers@protonenergy.com
Business Contact
 Kathy Ayers
Title: MS
Phone: (203) 678-2338
Email: kayers@protonenergy.com
Research Institution
 Pennsylvania State Univ University Park
 110 Technology Center Building
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA, 16802-7000
 (814) 865-1372
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project aims to develop improved membranes for water electrolysis cells, providing a potentially renewable, cost competitive hydrogen source for fueling and backup power applications. Currently, the membrane contributes substantial efficiency losses, and is also one of the highest cost materials in the cell stack. In Phase 1, feasibility of obtaining increased efficiency using new membrane chemistry was demonstrated. In Phase 2, Proton Energy will continue research to understand longer term degradation mechanisms and scale up to a relevant level to prove manufacturability. Proton?s academic partner, Penn State, will also build on Phase 1 work, using membrane reinforcement strategies to improve robustness. The proposed membranes represent significantly cheaper and more efficient materials for water electrolysis applications, enabling widespread access to hydrogen for a variety of energy uses. The broader impacts of this research are new market opportunities in electrolysis and fuel cell applications as well as electro-dialysis and other ion exchange technologies. Creating a new class of mechanically robust proton exchange membranes would be a significant advance in the field and would find immediate commercial interest. The chemistry proposed has the opportunity to decrease the membrane cost by 75%, as well as increasing the efficiency of the cell stack. These combined effects result in substantial potential increases in Proton?s existing markets, which are primarily focused on industrial gas and laboratory applications. This project will also enable new applications markets such as vehicle fueling (including fuel cell fork trucks) and telecom backup power.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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