STTR Phase II: Development of High Temperature Membranes for Increased PEM Electrolysis Efficiency

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project aims to develop improved membranes for water electrolysis cells, providing a potentially renewable, cost competitive hydrogen source for fueling and backup power applications. Currently, the membrane contributes substantial efficiency losses, and is also one of the highest cost materials in the cell stack. In Phase 1, feasibility of obtaining increased efficiency using new membrane chemistry was demonstrated. In Phase 2, Proton Energy will continue research to understand longer term degradation mechanisms and scale up to a relevant level to prove manufacturability. Proton?s academic partner, Penn State, will also build on Phase 1 work, using membrane reinforcement strategies to improve robustness. The proposed membranes represent significantly cheaper and more efficient materials for water electrolysis applications, enabling widespread access to hydrogen for a variety of energy uses.

The broader impacts of this research are new market opportunities in electrolysis and fuel cell applications as well as electro-dialysis and other ion exchange technologies. Creating a new class of mechanically robust proton exchange membranes would be a significant advance in the field and would find immediate commercial interest. The chemistry proposed has the opportunity to decrease the membrane cost by 75%, as well as increasing the efficiency of the cell stack. These combined effects result in substantial potential increases in Proton?s existing markets, which are primarily focused on industrial gas and laboratory applications. This project will also enable new applications markets such as vehicle fueling (including fuel cell fork trucks) and telecom backup power.

Effective start/end date2/15/111/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $559,977.00


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