Among the 43 small businesses participating in the newly announced second round of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot are 10 projects in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells.
These selected projects are aimed at reducing the costs and improving the performance of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, such as finding ways to lower costs of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), a critical component of fuel cell stacks and electrolyzers. Some of these collaborations will explore using lower cost materials, reducing the quantity of pricey raw material required, and developing better and more precise methods in manufacturing MEAs.
The ten companies receiving Round 2 SBVs for hydrogen and fuel cells projects include:
Altergy. Altergy will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to leverage lab expertise to reduce cost and improve performance in its proprietary fuel cell products. The objective of their work with NREL is to observe the fabrication of MEAs at NREL using non- proprietary methods, and evaluate MEAs made at NREL with ETFECS-based catalyst to reduce costs and/or enhance durability.
American Fuel Cell. AFC will work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to optimize deposition techniques for roll-to-roll direct coating of electrodes on anode and cathode gas diffusion media leading to improved quality and lower-cost manufacturing of various fuel cell applications.
Garmor Inc. Garmor, working with NREL, will utilize existing bipolar plate (BPP) technology to develop a BPP that will include composites that will be used to form microstructured surface features to improve BPP surface tension for water droplet control.
Ion Power. Ion Power will work with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to analyze various performance improvement mechanisms to improve the impact on durability of its fuel cell catalyst layer.
Nanosonic. NanoSonic, working with LANL, will receive assistance in the preparation of membrane electrode assembly and performance of fuel cell testing and validation of new anion exchange fuel cell membranes.
Nzyme2HC LLC. Nzyme2HC has novel acellular biological approach to scalable/clean/potentially low-cost H2 generation. Combining minimal electric current, bacterially-extricated hydrogenase, and industrial waste as the feedstocks/production materials. RFA award monies would go to building end-to-end bench prototype at NREL to test/metric.
Oorja Fuel Cells. Oorja Fuel Cells will work with NREL to determine the efficacy and performance of membrane electrode assembly (MEA) of Oorja’s direct methanol cells operating conditions (DMFC) and compare the results with the commercially available MEA used in Oorja DMFC power system.
Opus 12. Opus 12 will receive assistance to develop a computational model of ions, products, reactants, and water transport within their PEM electrolyzer for the co-electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide to make syngas. The model will aid in increasing system performance to make Opus 12’s syngas cost-competitive with traditional syngas sources. Working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Pajarito Powder. Pajarito will work with LANL to improve electrode structures and to implement electrode manufacturing techniques that allow full catalyst utilization. Ultimately, this work will increase customer confidence in the technology and accelerate commercial adoption.
Proton Energy Systems. Proton Energy Systems will work with NREL to develop, design and validate a small-scale advanced power converter to provide a pathway for reduced capital cost and improved efficiency of Proton’s M-series electrolyzer that offers a carbon-free source of hydrogen fuel or process gas.