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Celadyne secures $4.5M to accelerate industrialization of durable fuel cell membranes

Celadyne, a developer of more durable low-permeability membranes for hydrogen fuel cells, raised $4.5 million in seed investment funding in a round co-led by Maniv and Dynamo Ventures, with major participation from EPS Ventures.

Current fuel cells struggle with durability because hydrogen crossover inadvertently causes side reactions that lead to degradation of the membrane, catalyst layer and other components in the fuel cell. Celadyne addresses this with low permeability membranes that cut hydrogen crossover by more than 50% to ultimately quintuple fuel cell durability.

Celadyne Dura—a low permeability bilayer proton exchange membrane—is durable, chemically impermeable, and conductive and handles and integrates like traditional perfluorosulfonic acid membranes. Dura uses a composite approach to reduce gas permeation across the membrane while maintaining high conductivity and stability in order to enable thinner membranes with overall lower membrane resistance.

Celadyne’s materials and technologies thus replace the proton exchange membrane to create fuel cells that are more durable, and electrolyzers that are more compact and efficient.

Celadyne was founded by Gary Ong, with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He got his start at Sputnik Accelerator, and as a fellow at the Chain Reactions Innovations program at Argonne National Laboratory. The company collaborates with fuel cell and utility firms, offering efficient hydrogen solutions to heavy-duty industries such as energy, manufacturing, and transportation.

This latest funding will expand upon capital from Shell Ventures, Sputnik ATX, the Third Derivative Accelerator, and Sandy Spring Climate Partners. Celadyne has been publicly and financially supported through grants from the US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, ARPA-E, and Department of Defense - AFWERX.

The funding will be used to expand on the team’s growth with engineers coming from Siemens Energy, Argonne National Lab, The US Navy, Micron Technologies, Hyzon Motors, and Northwestern University. By year end, Celadyne expects to double its customer base.

Comments

Davemart

Important for folk like me, who think that the electrical grid cannot or will not be expanded quickly enough to cope with decarbonisation and think we will need to use converted existing NG pipelines.

Fuel cells can answer a lot of the criticisms of inefficiency, as electrical plus thermal efficiency is over 90% at point of use, way more than the current situation with loads of power simply chucked out through cooling towers.

SJC

Solid oxide fuel cells can be used in homes and buildings for electricity and heat
using natural gas directly, that has been possible for quite a while.

Davemart

@SJC

Although there are some of them installed, for cost reasons most of the home fuel cells installed in Japan are PEM, not SOFC.

It was a brilliant program, with Government incentives, but also a clear cut off date. There is no (?) subsidy now for PEM, or at least the major incentives have stopped, but the last time I checked in view of the less mature state of the technology they had kept incentives for SOFC.

AFAIK there are no issues (?) with using hydrogen instead of natural gas, which as I type it sounds like an oversimplification.

Japan was a favourable place to start the move to home fuel cells, as the average power draw is way less than Europe, let alone the US, but of course the players are doing their best to reduce costs etc.

Panasonic is the biggest player.

They would also combine well with solar, heat pumps etc.

Jer

It's an interesting conversation on how the modern US electrical grid should develop.

I, for one, believe that a full-time formal electric baseload should 'partially' found almost all power, heating/cooling, industrial, and vehicular propulsion - maybe 50 to 75% of all energy use. What the mix of inputs should be: hydro, carbon-based, nuclear, temperamental (sun/wind), etc., and what final consumable use should be: hybrid vehicular, hybrid or full electrical appliances/ equipment/ industrial, hybrid heating/cooling, etc., is less important as is also the political impetus, such as climate change, regional employment/economic, etc.
This will set most energy and product-type technology decisions going forward, since pricing and availability will come from this, in the same way that the US interstate system determined much of the internal economic conditions for living, working, and traveling throughout. At some point, the various industries, such as battery tech, vehicle propulsion, consumables, heating/cooling, etc., industries will need to focus less on what powers their product than the product itself.
That all being said, a broad mixture of all energy types will allow end-user choice and likely a pro-abundance, competitive, price-positive (economies of scale and progress) system. I just wish that there had been more research, large-scale 'plans' for possible future grid configurations, and a timeline for said.
Of course, what works for the US, for the EU, asia, etc., may differ.

Davemart

Hi Jer

'what works for the US, for the EU, asia, etc., may differ.'

What works as a renewables based system is variable, depending on the population density and latitude mainly.

I have moaned at some Australian based bloggers (not here) for posting as though Australia were typical, when it is an outlier, with very low population density, high wealth and immense solar resources.

And I have moaned right here at folk talking as though San Diego were in some way representative, or representative enough to think that what might work there were typical especially in transport, when the wealth, sunny climate, and frequent reasonable opportunity to enable charging at home make it another outlier.

But Europe is also an outlier, with relatively high wealth, high population density, relatively poor solar resources and above all high latitude making solar very seasonally variable.

That and the existing NG network which most of the world doesn't have accounts for much of my emphasis on hydrogen, to fill large gaps in solar energy supply seasonally.

Most places where most people now live, and even more in the future have far better and more constant solar resources.

If my speculation that Energy Dome and CO2 storage can cover daily variation to a very substantial degree then that should pretty well do the job for much of the world

The US is pretty well in a medium position, and although it has considerable seasonal variability has both a relatively low population and very substantial solar as well as wind resources.

So a lot more stuff can work in a renewables based society in the US than in Europe, and there is less need to have massive seasonal storage, which pretty much means chemicals of one sort or another, probably derived from hydrogen.

SJC

Not only can a solid oxide fuel cell run on natural gas, the high grade heat can be used in an absorption cooler, so it can provide electricity, heating, cooling and hot water ,.tremendous efficiency.

Davemart

@SJC

Dunno the details, but there was no hydrogen piped into Japanese homes, so the PEM cells which are in the great majority must run on reformed NG.
Clever and maybe expensive stuff, to purify the NG to that standard, I would have thought.

Davemart

Looks like it is LP, not natural gas, but I would have thought that the same problems would remain.

https://www.j-lpgas.gr.jp/en/appliances/

I wrongly extrapolated from the UK where most homes have NG piped in,
Dunno how it works in Japan, but that is more problematic in earthquake zones and the average Japanese home has a very low power draw of all types.

Davemart

Just checked to see how Japan's home fuel cell program is going, and it looks as though they still plan to expand from the current 450,000 or so to 3 million by 2030:

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/mfat-market-reports/japan-hydrogen-strategy-november-2023/

SJC

Reforming LP or NG to the proper purity for a PEM is very difficult if not impossible, if the CO content is not down to 10 parts per million it contaminates the cell, not to mention removing the sulfur that's in natural gas.

Davemart

@SJC

That is what I thought, certainly in a home setting.

But the Japanese have managed something or the other, as not many of their home fuel cells are PEM, and they seem to be still working.

How is your Japanese, SJC, as I reckon mine might be just a touch weak to look at what they are saying in that language? ;-)

SJC

I'm really not concerned about Japanese fuel cells,
I care more about using less fossil fuels or using the fossil fuels
we use more efficiently.

Davemart

@SJC

My last comment should have been:
'Not many of the home fuel cells installed are SOFC' not PEM as I erroneously stated, which are in fact most of them,

I simply do not understand your comment:

' I'm really not concerned about Japanese fuel cells,'

When clearly fuel cells whether installed in Japan or anywhere else should be assessed on your criteria of:

' using less fossil fuels or using the fossil fuels
we use more efficiently.'

With a thermal efficiency plus electrical efficiency of 90% plus, that is pretty much what they are installed for.

Tougher to economically produce fuel cells with the higher output needed for Europe or the US, but whether they are Japanese or not is hardly the critical or even relevant thing.

Davemart

Here is the latest Panasonic PEM home fuel cell, which uses natural gas, so they are doing something or the other to get it to acceptable quality without going SOFC:

https://www.renewableenergyhub.co.uk/main/micro-combined-heat-and-power-micro-chp-information/the-viessmann-panasonic-fuel-cell-microchp-co-generation-boiler

Interestingly for the German market they are installing a back up boiler.

SJC

When you reform natural gas to hydrogen for a PEM fuel cell you have lost energy, you lose 20% just in reforming and then you're trying to get the carbon monoxide parts per million way down, which costs you even more.
This is what I mean about using fossil fuels more effectively and efficiently. SOFCs use natural gas directly, it has high enough temperature heat to drive an adsorption chiller in buildings and homes, instead of electric air conditioning, that is a big plus.

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