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Nanocrystalline Separation Membrane for Improved Hydrogen Flux

New processing technique to develop ionic transport membranes with improved ionic and electronic conductivity

Savannah River National Laboratory

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PDF Document PublicationBrinkman_MRS_Spring_v2.pdf (756 KB)

Dr. Kyle Brinkman
Dr. Kyle Brinkman


Technology Marketing Summary

A new method has been developed using a new processing technique that modifies perovskite materials to improve conductivity by altering the microstructure without changing the ratio of the chemical constituents.  The result is a nanocrystalline material that exhibits an increase in weight loss over similar materials made under standard bulk oxide synthesis.  The enhanced oxygen loss translates into an increase in the number of electron charge carriers and elevated electronic conducting which impacts applications in catalysis, sensors, separation, and energy conversion device operation.


Membrane separations are key enabling technology for energy conversion devices.  Ionic transport membranes must have both proton and electronic conductivity to function as hyrdrogen separation membranes withoud an external power supply.  In addition, membrane materials electronic conductivity or material crystal stability should not be greatly affected by the presence of contaminant gases such as CO2, CO1, CH4, and H2O that are associated with steam reforming/water gas shift reactions.

Perovskite materials (ABO3) of the general formula SrCeO3 and BaCeO3 form the basis of most ceramic compositions with proton conductivities in the range of 2 x 10-2 S/cm at 600oC, showing good stability under the extremely low oxygen partial pressure where many perovskites decompose to their primary oxides.  However they suffer from low electronic conductivity which limits use as hydrogen separation membrane.  Using a new perovskite processing technique consisting of novel chemical synthesis followed by a rapid sintering technique, SRNL scientists have been able to alter the microstructure resulting in an order of magnitutde increase in electronic conductivity and enhanced separation membrane performance.

  • improved electronic conduction
  • suitable for hydrogen separation
  • separates contaminant gases
  • patent pending
Applications and Industries

This technology primarily benefits the industries involved in gas production and separations applications.  In addition, energy conversion applications such as fuel cells will benefit from a consistent and reliable supply of hydrogen.  Nanostructured mixed conducting may be employed directly in fuel cells as electrodes and in catalytic membrane reactors.

More Information

SRNS invites interested companies with proven capabilities in this area of expertise to develop commercial applications for this process or product under a funds-in cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) or licensing agreement.  Qualifications should include past experience at bringing similar products to market, reasonable schedule for product launch, sufficient manufacturing capacity, established distribution networks, and evidence of sufficent financial resources for product development and launch.  Companies interested in licensing will need to submit a business plan setting forth company qualifications, strategies, activities, and milestones for commercializing this invention.

Technology Status
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Contact SRNL About This Technology

To: Dale Haas, Commercialization Manager<>