High Charge Density Hydrocarbon-Based PEMs

Period of Performance: 02/12/2016 - 11/21/2016


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Giner, Inc.
89 Rumford Avenue Array
Newton, MA 02466
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180
Institution POC


Despite incremental improvements in the technology, polyfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes are still not an ideal fuel cell membrane material and their drawbacks (e.g., high cost and low mechanical strength at high temperature) require development of alternative polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) for successful adoption of fuel cells as reliable and inexpensive energy conversion devices. The goal of this proposed project is the development of novel hydrocarbon-based ionomeric membranes with high conductivity and mechanical strength for use in low RH, high temperature fuel cell applications. Giner’s proven Dimensionally Stable Membrane (DSM) technology will be used to further increase the strength of the membranes and increase resistance to creep at high temperatures. The end product of this project will be a less expensive viable alternative to PFSA for use in automotive fuel cells and other applications. In this project, Chulsung Bae of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will work with Giner to expand upon his work in hydrocarbon-based ionomers for fuel cells. He will develop and provide novel membranes to Giner for incorporation into the DSM support structure. Giner will then fully characterize these membranes with respect to conductivity, water uptake, gas permeability and mechanical strength to find an optimum group of membranes to move up the Phase II program for MEA performance and lifetime testing. Current fuel cell technology relies on proton-exchange membranes that are expensive to manufacture and are prone to degradation during operation. Giner, Inc., in partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will develop membranes that are much less expensive and that exhibit very good durability for use in fuel cells for vehicles. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Giner’s immediate market for these membranes will be for military application, where there are numerous systems that need specialty fuel cell MEAs for unmanned underwater vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and energy storage applications for remote bases using renewable energy sources. The major future market is the automotive industry.