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Polymer Membrane Separators for Next Generation Energy-Water Systems

Sandia National Laboratories

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Technology Marketing Summary

Polymer membrane separators play a crucial function in many energy and water technologies including: energy storage, hydrogen generation through water electrolysis, and fuel cell based stationary and transportation power systems. The cost and performance of current polymer membranes have hindered the widespread adoption of these clean energy technologies. Sandia’s inexpensive poly(phenylene)-based hydrocarbon polymer membrane separator was developed to encourage increased implementation of these next-generation of energy-water systems.

Description

Sandia’s membrane technology starts with a poly(phenylene) backbone that is chemically functionalized based on the intended application which greatly reduces manufacturing costs. For instance, the membrane can be optimized for transportation of protons (H+) or hydroxyl ions (OH-) depending on the acidic or alkaline environment of the energy-water system. To further reduce costs, the membrane is designed to eliminate the need for precious metal catalysts. This technology can reduce costs associated with stationary energy storage and promote growth of renewable energy sources while providing grid stability. It also provides a more efficient, cheaper alternative to membranes currently used in fuel cell vehicles which are becoming strong competitors to electric vehicles due to their shorter refueling times and longer driving ranges. This is the first membrane technology of its kind to demonstrate superior performance and cost savings over current state-of-the-art. Sandia’s innovative membrane has the potential to change the landscape in fuel cell and water electrolysis systems and can usher in a new era of clean technologies.

Benefits
  • Reduced manufacturing cost
  • High ion conductivities
  • Reduced cross-over
  • Operates over a wide range of temperatures
  • Chemical and thermal stability in acidic and alkaline environments
Applications and Industries
  • Chemical Applications
  • Transportation and Automotive
  • Fuel Cells
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,110,636
Patent
8,110,636
Multi-block sulfonated poly(phenylene) copolymer proton exchange membranes
Improved multi-block sulfonated poly(phenylene) copolymer compositions, methods of making the same, and their use as proton exchange membranes (PEM) in hydrogen fuel cells, direct methanol fuel cells, in electrode casting solutions and electrodes. The multi-block architecture has defined, controllable hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments. These improved membranes have better ion transport (proton conductivity) and water swelling properties.
Sandia National Laboratories 02/07/2012
Issued
Patent 8,809,483
Patent
8,809,483
Functionalization of poly(phenylene) by the attachment of sidechains
A composition and an anion exchange membranes including a composition and a method of forming a composition including a compound including a poly(phenylene) backbone represented by the following formula: ##STR00001## wherein each of R.sub.1, R.sub.2 and R.sub.3 may be the same or different and is H or an unsubstituted or inertly-substituted aromatic moiety; wherein each of Ar.sub.1 and Ar.sub.2 may be the same or different and is an unsubstituted or inertly-substituted aromatic moiety; wherein each of R.sub.6, R.sub.7, R.sub.8, R.sub.9, R.sub.10 and R.sub.11 is H or a monovalent hydrocarbon group including two to 18 carbon atoms, with the proviso that each R.sub.6, R.sub.7, R.sub.8, R.sub.9, R.sub.10 and R.sub.11 cannot be H; and wherein each of Y.sub.6, Y.sub.7, Y.sub.8, Y.sub.9, Y.sub.10 and Y.sub.11 may be the same or different and is H or a functional group.
Sandia National Laboratories 08/19/2014
Issued
Patent 7,888,397
Patent
7,888,397
Poly(phenylene)-based anion exchange membrane
A poly(phenylene) compound of copolymers that can be prepared with either random or multiblock structures where a first polymer has a repeat unit with a structure of four sequentially connected phenyl rings with a total of 2 pendant phenyl groups and 4 pendant tolyl groups and the second polymer has a repeat unit with a structure of four sequentially connected phenyl rings with a total of 6 pendant phenyl groups. The second polymer has chemical groups attached to some of the pendant phenyl groups selected from CH.sub.3, CH.sub.2Br, and CH.sub.2N(CH.sub.3).sub.3Br groups. When at least one group is CH.sub.2N(CH.sub.3).sub.3Br, the material functions as an anion exchange membrane.
Sandia National Laboratories 02/15/2011
Issued
Patent 7,301,002
Patent
7,301,002
Sulfonated polyphenylene polymers
Improved sulfonated polyphenylene compositions, improved polymer electrolyte membranes and nanocomposites formed there from for use in fuel cells are described herein. The improved compositions, membranes and nanocomposites formed there from overcome limitations of Nafion.RTM. membranes.
Sandia National Laboratories 11/27/2007
Issued
Patent 7,816,482
Patent
7,816,482
Epoxy-crosslinked sulfonated poly (phenylene) copolymer proton exchange membranes
An epoxy-crosslinked sulfonated poly(phenylene) copolymer composition used as proton exchange membranes, methods of making the same, and their use as proton exchange membranes (PEM) in hydrogen fuel cells, direct methanol fuel cell, in electrode casting solutions and electrodes, and in sulfur dioxide electrolyzers. These improved membranes are tougher, have higher temperature capability, and lower SO.sub.2 crossover rates.
Sandia National Laboratories 10/19/2010
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD#7561Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 4/5. Basic technological components have been integrated to establish the pieces will work together.Available05/04/201705/04/2017

Contact SNL About This Technology

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