Selective Laser Ionization Process

Period of Performance: 11/02/2006 - 05/02/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


To address the Navy need for a method to separate sulfurous species from fuel cell reformate streams, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Selective Laser Ionization Process (SLIP) system. This system is based on a SLIP reactor, light source, and feedback controls for selective photoionization of sulfur-containing molecules, followed by separation/extraction by an electric field. Inserted as a standalone module between the Navy s reformer and fuel cell power generation plant, the SLIP system will purify the reformate stream to >99.99% required for fuel cells even from >10,000 ppm initial sulfur levels. With a 10x reduction in size and weight, 50% reduction in hydrogen loss, compatibility with NATO-76 diesel-based reformate streams, reduced power consumption, and no required sorbents, the SLIP system will meet U.S. Navy shipboard requirements. In Phase I POC developed a proof-of-concept 18-inch long 2-inch diameter SLIP reactor prototype that demonstrated 18% reduction in hydrogen sulfide in a simulated reformate stream for a 20 W fuel cell system with experimental data demonstrating scalability to >50 kW levels. In Phase II, POC will develop and test an optimized SLIP system prototype that can support 50 kW (scalable to 200 kW) fuel cell system.