SBIR Phase II: Hydrogen Bromine Electrolysis for Highly Efficient Hydrogen-Based Energy Storage and High Value Chemical Applications

Period of Performance: 04/01/2016 - 03/31/2018

$691K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Proton Energy Systems
10 Technology Drive Array
Wallingford, CT 06492
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project includes applications ranging from peak load shifting, grid buffering for renewable energy input, frequency regulation, and chemical conversions. As the percentage of energy from renewables on the grid increases, energy storage will be essential to stabilize the supply and demand. Currently, 20-40% of wind energy is often stranded due to the inability to capture the energy in the peak generation periods. Germany, Europe, Japan, Korea, and other countries are funding significant efforts in energy storage projects. Energy storage is also a critical need for all of the United States armed services, including microgrids for forward operating bases. While batteries can demonstrate very good round trip efficiencies, they suffer from self-discharge, capacity fade, and high cost. Flow batteries separate the reactant and product storage from the electrode active area, enabling higher capacities through merely adding more storage. Many systems have not been practical in the past due to low energy density values, but fuel cell and electrolysis developments have provided pathways to higher energy density. Advances in these areas would find immediate commercial interest, and address key strategic areas related to energy security and grid stabilization and resiliency. The objectives of this Phase II research project are: 1) flow field design for balanced fluid distribution in both operating modes and minimization of shunt currents; 2) selection of catalysts and membranes for reversibility, durability and efficiency requirements; 3) integration and testing of Proton components with the Sustainable Innovations embodiment hardware; 4) scale up to a full size stack and operation in both modes at SI; and 5) development of a performance model in collaboration with SI based on the final configuration. These objectives address present limitations in energy storage solutions. While traditional batteries can demonstrate very good round trip efficiencies, they suffer from self-discharge, capacity fade, and high cost. Flow batteries separate the reactant and product storage from the electrode active area, enabling higher capacities through merely adding more storage. Many systems have not been practical in the past due to low energy density values, but fuel cell and electrolysis developments have provided pathways to higher energy density. Advances in these areas would find immediate commercial interest, and address key strategic areas related to energy security and grid stabilization and resiliency. The anticipated result will be a highly efficient, durable flow battery system with high power density.