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Title: New High Performance Water Vapor Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Balance of Plant Efficiency and Lower Costs

Abstract

Hydrogen fuel cells are currently one of the more promising long term alternative energy options and out of the range of fuel cell technologies under development, proton exchange membranes [PEMs] have the advantage of being able to deliver high power density at relatively low operating temperatures. This is essential for systems such as fuel cell vehicles (FCV) and many stationary applications that undergoing frequent on/off cycling. One of the biggest challenges for PEM systems is the need to maintain a high level of hydration in the cell to enable efficient conduction of protons from the anode to the cathode. In addition to significant power loss, low humidity conditions lead to increased stress on the membranes which can result in both physical and chemical degradation. Therefore, an effective fuel cell humidifier can be critical for the efficient operation and durability of the system under high load and low humidity conditions. The most common types of water vapor transport (WVT) devices are based on water permeable membrane based separators. Successful membranes must effectively permeate water vapor while restricting crossover of air, and be robust to the temperature and humidity fluctuations experienced in fuel cell systems. DOE sponsored independent evaluations indicate that balancemore » of plant components, including humidification devices, make up more than half of the cost of current automotive fuel cell systems. Despite its relatively widespread us in other applications, the current industry standard perfluorosulfonic acid based Nafion® remains expensive compared with non-perfluorinated polymer membranes. During Phase II of this project, we demonstrated the improved performance of our semi-fluorinated perfluorocyclobutyl polymer based membranes compared with the current industry standard perfluorosulfonic acid based Nafion®, at ~ 50% lower cost. Building on this work, highlights of our Phase IIB developments, in close collaboration with leading global automotive component supplier Dana Holding Corporation include: • Development of a lower cost series of ionomers, with reduced synthetic steps and purification requirements and improved scale-ability, while maintaining performance advantages over Nafion® demonstrated during Phase II. • Demonstration of efficient, continuous production of down-selected WVT membrane configurations at commercial continuous roll coating facilities. We see no major issues producing Tetramer supported WVT membranes on a large commercial scale. • Following the production and testing of three prototype humidifier stacks, a full size humidifier unit was manufactured and successfully tested by an automotive customer for performance and durability. • Assuming the availability of a reasonably priced support, our cost projections for mid to large scale production of Tetramer WVT membranes are within the acceptable range of the leading automotive manufacturers and at a large scale, our calculations based on bulk sourcing of raw materials indicate we can achieve the project goal of $25/m2.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Tetramer Technologies, LLC, Pendleton, SC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Tetramer Technologies, LLC, Pendleton, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1410531
Report Number(s):
DOE-Tetramer-6172
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0006172
Type / Phase:
SBIR (Phase IIB)
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Water vapor transport; humidifier; fuel cell; automotive; HVAC

Citation Formats

Wagener, Earl, Topping, Chris, Morgan, Brad, Jayasinghe, Rahula, Overman, Dana, Wasilewski, Matt, and Cade, Deidra. New High Performance Water Vapor Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Balance of Plant Efficiency and Lower Costs. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Wagener, Earl, Topping, Chris, Morgan, Brad, Jayasinghe, Rahula, Overman, Dana, Wasilewski, Matt, & Cade, Deidra. New High Performance Water Vapor Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Balance of Plant Efficiency and Lower Costs. United States.
Wagener, Earl, Topping, Chris, Morgan, Brad, Jayasinghe, Rahula, Overman, Dana, Wasilewski, Matt, and Cade, Deidra. Wed . "New High Performance Water Vapor Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Balance of Plant Efficiency and Lower Costs". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_1410531,
title = {New High Performance Water Vapor Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Balance of Plant Efficiency and Lower Costs},
author = {Wagener, Earl and Topping, Chris and Morgan, Brad and Jayasinghe, Rahula and Overman, Dana and Wasilewski, Matt and Cade, Deidra},
abstractNote = {Hydrogen fuel cells are currently one of the more promising long term alternative energy options and out of the range of fuel cell technologies under development, proton exchange membranes [PEMs] have the advantage of being able to deliver high power density at relatively low operating temperatures. This is essential for systems such as fuel cell vehicles (FCV) and many stationary applications that undergoing frequent on/off cycling. One of the biggest challenges for PEM systems is the need to maintain a high level of hydration in the cell to enable efficient conduction of protons from the anode to the cathode. In addition to significant power loss, low humidity conditions lead to increased stress on the membranes which can result in both physical and chemical degradation. Therefore, an effective fuel cell humidifier can be critical for the efficient operation and durability of the system under high load and low humidity conditions. The most common types of water vapor transport (WVT) devices are based on water permeable membrane based separators. Successful membranes must effectively permeate water vapor while restricting crossover of air, and be robust to the temperature and humidity fluctuations experienced in fuel cell systems. DOE sponsored independent evaluations indicate that balance of plant components, including humidification devices, make up more than half of the cost of current automotive fuel cell systems. Despite its relatively widespread us in other applications, the current industry standard perfluorosulfonic acid based Nafion® remains expensive compared with non-perfluorinated polymer membranes. During Phase II of this project, we demonstrated the improved performance of our semi-fluorinated perfluorocyclobutyl polymer based membranes compared with the current industry standard perfluorosulfonic acid based Nafion®, at ~ 50% lower cost. Building on this work, highlights of our Phase IIB developments, in close collaboration with leading global automotive component supplier Dana Holding Corporation include: • Development of a lower cost series of ionomers, with reduced synthetic steps and purification requirements and improved scale-ability, while maintaining performance advantages over Nafion® demonstrated during Phase II. • Demonstration of efficient, continuous production of down-selected WVT membrane configurations at commercial continuous roll coating facilities. We see no major issues producing Tetramer supported WVT membranes on a large commercial scale. • Following the production and testing of three prototype humidifier stacks, a full size humidifier unit was manufactured and successfully tested by an automotive customer for performance and durability. • Assuming the availability of a reasonably priced support, our cost projections for mid to large scale production of Tetramer WVT membranes are within the acceptable range of the leading automotive manufacturers and at a large scale, our calculations based on bulk sourcing of raw materials indicate we can achieve the project goal of $25/m2.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Nov 29 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Nov 29 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:
This technical report may be released as soon as November 29, 2021
Other availability
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