SBIR Phase II: Ultrathin Polymer Electrolytes

Jul 31, 2023 | Press Releases


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project is to develop a new class of reinforced polymers that advance renewable hydrogen and clean energy devices, such as electrolyzers and fuel cells. The proposed materials will address the high materials costs, toxicity, and modest performance of current state-of-practice solutions. The support and fabrication innovations enhance mechanical performance and durability and reduce materials costs by engineering specifically for the intended applications. The proposed device will generate capital expenditure reductions of 40% and improve durability by 3x.  

This SBIR Phase II project will address performance, durability and scale issues of reinforced Alkaline Exchange Membranes (rAEMs). The project will advance the development of rAEMs with high mechanical performance and durability; the project will develop mesoporous supports to achieve higher quality. Proposed chemical innovations will improve electrochemical performance by boosting ion mobility and exploiting hydrophilic/hydrophobic phase separation dynamics in the polymer electrolyte. The project will advance innovations of Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEA) with non-platinum catalysts to further reduce device cost. Technical goals include performance and durability of the rAEM (stability for 1,000h, ASR < 0.08 Ohm-cm2, hydroxide conductivity > 25 mS/cm, Stress @ break > 30 MPa, < 15% swelling), MEAs in fuel cells (current density > 800 mA/cm2 at 0.65V @ 60 degrees C over 50h) MEAs in electrolyzers (current density > 750 mA/cm2 at 1.8V @ 60 degrees C over 100h), and successful incorporation of non-platinum electrodes into MEAs.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Read about SBIR Phase II & Phase I from the NSF here!

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