Electrochemical Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Air for Life Support in Closed Environments

Period of Performance: 08/12/2016 - 02/08/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


A significant challenge in managing air quality in closed environments such as naval submarines is mitigating carbon dioxide concentration, which can accumulate to levels toxic to humans through normal respiration if not actively removed. The Navy currently uses liquid and solid amine based chemistries to capture CO2 from cabin air, which require high maintenance and routine regeneration. These systems also are energy intensive and typically can only remove CO2 to a threshold value which is below the toxicity limit but still higher than desired. Proton OnSite proposes an electrochemical method of separating CO2 from cabin air based on ion exchange membranes. The proposed solution would improve energy consumption, reduce operating complexity and footprint, and provide full CO2 removal capacity, with simplified designs that eliminate mechanical and electrical failure mechanisms. Protons capabilities in electrode fabrication, membrane-based electrochemical cells and stacks, electrochemical pumping, and gas-liquid balance of plant design will enable these advancements and lead to a commercially viable product for the Navy and other applications.