Low-Cost, Durable Water Vapor Transport Exchanger

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Fuel cells promise tremendous benefits in fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness; however practical fuel cell systems require balance of plant components that are economical and durable. Water management is a critical need for all types of fuel cells and fuel processors. Without low cost and reliable technology for water management and recycling, fuel cell systems will need to be supplied with high-purity water, which will significantly reduce their attractiveness. We propose an innovative, low-cost, durable water vapor exchanger. Our device recycles water vapor from the exhaust stream of a fuel cell or fuel processor, transferring it to an incoming reactant stream and maintaining water balanced operation. Simple construction from low-cost materials will result in a highly reliable and economical system. Commercial Application and Other Benefits: Our water vapor exchanger can be used for multiple fuel cell types (PEM, SOFC) and applications (vechicular, stationary and portable power systems), enabling durable and low-cost power systems. The very compact and lightweight technology is particularly useful for vehicle or portable power applications. By enabling fuel cell power generation, our device will contribute to reduced petroleum use, reduced dependence on foreign oil, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, and a more diverse energy supply.