A durable Pd-based alloy is used for a H.sub.2-selective membrane in a hydrogen generator, as in the fuel processor of a fuel cell plant. The Pd-based alloy includes Cu as a binary element, and further includes "X", where "X" comprises at least one metal from group "M" that is BCC and acts to stabilize the .beta. BCC phase for stability during operating temperatures. The metal from group "M" is selected from the group consisting of Fe, Cr, Nb, Ta, V, Mo, and W, with Nb and Ta being most preferred. "X" may further comprise at least one metal from a group "N" that is non-BCC, preferably FCC, that enhances other properties of the membrane, such as ductility. The metal from group "N" is selected from the group consisting of Ag, Au, Re, Ru, Rh, Y, Ce, Ni, Ir, Pt, Co, La and In. The at. % of Pd in the binary Pd--Cu alloy ranges from about 35 at. % to about 55 at. %, and the at. % of "X" in the higher order alloy, based on said binary alloy, is in the range of about 1 at. % to about 15 at. %. The metals are selected according to a novel process.
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The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of (contract No. DE-FC26-05NT42453) awarded by the Department of Energy.