Membrane Structures for Hydrogen Separation

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Genesis Fueltech, Inc.
528 South Cannon
Spokane, WA 99204
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells require high-purity oxygen. This project will develop a low-cost hydrogen-permeable membrane that provides permeated hydrogen with a high-enough purity for PEM fuel cell usage. Phase I involved forming a thin palladium alloy on a permeable metallic support, where the alloy film was free of porosity or defects. A pore-free palladium alloy film was fabricated and demonstrated in a small purifier module. In Phase II, the supported membrane will be further developed and fully tested in a scaled-up, integrated purifier module. Specific tasks include determining how thin the membrane can be formed, optimizing the fabrication methods, and determining whether alternative alloys can provide superior results. Purifier modules will be tested for output and durability in methanol reformers to establish their suitability for commercialization. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The hydrogen separation membranes should enable the broad commercialization of integrated fuel cell systems. Near-term markets should exist in building reformers for remote power applications, military power generation, and fuel cell transportation systems (hydrogen refueling stations, on-vehicle reformers for public transportation buses). Furthermore, the purifier itself should find use in other industries as well ¿ from purification for gas chromatographs to industrial scale applications requiring purified hydrogen.