High-Performance Proton Exchange Membranes for Electrolysis Cells

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Amsen Technologies LLC
1684 S. Research Loop Suite 518
Tucson, AZ 85710
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Improvements in performance of the components are needed for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzers, which is one of the key technologies for DOEs hydrogen production plan. In particular, high- performance ion-exchange membranes are needed that can withstand significantly higher mechanical loads due to high-pressure operation, while having significantly reduce hydrogen permeability and improved proton conductivity. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims to develop high-performance ion-exchange membranes for PEM electrolyzers based on a ternary material system. Such membranes shall have lower hydrogen permeability and higher proton conductivity than the state-of-the-art commercial membranes. Additionally, the new membrane shall have good water transfer capability, high tensile strength, and high stability under high-pressure electrolyzer operation conditions. The proposed composite ion-exchange membranes will be fabricated by a solution casting process that has been well developed in Amsen for our composite membrane projects. This process is well suited for easy and economical production of multi-component composite membranes with high uniformity. The resultant composite membranes will be systematically characterized in terms of structural and microstructural features, hydrogen permeability, proton conductivity, tensile strength, water uptake/swelling, and dimensional stability. The best composite membranes selected will be evaluated by performance in high-pressure electrolysis operation. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The outcome of the innovation has the potential of providing DOE with high-performance ion-exchange membranes for PEM electrolyzers as well as fuel cells. This technology will find wide applications in all PEM electrolyzers and PEM fuel cell stacks.