Tetramer Wins Department of Energy Contract to Develop Improved PEM Electrolyzer Ion Exchange Membranes

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Tetramer has been awarded a DOE Phase I Contract (DE-SC0011305) to develop improved PEM electrolyzer ion exchange membranes. Electrolyzer systems produce high value hydrogen on demand and on site, thus eliminating costly delivery and storage cylinders of hydrogen gas. The potential commercial market applications are projected to be in the $100 billion range by 2017 and are focused in the areas of industrial gas, transportation fueling, and backup power for renewable energy storage. However, the rate of growth of electrolyzer sales has been hampered by the relatively high cost of the system components and the cost of electricity for the electrolyzer unit operation. Tetramer Technologies, L.L.C., has developed a new membrane molecular architecture, which has demonstrated equivalent or better performance to the current Nafion materials under automotive fuel cell conditions at 50% lower cost. These attributes directly address the DOE high electrolyzer cost and performance issues. Key attributes of Tetramers technology vs. the current Nafion electrolyzer membranes are improved physical performance properties, 50% lower hydrogen permeability and equal or higher conductivity. This technology will provide thinner membranes which can lower costs and increase performance directly through decreased ionic resistance, and indirectly through the reduction of the overall cell potential. Tetramers membranes can also provide 50% less hydrogen crossover loss, thus improving the electrolyzer yield and lowering costs. Commercial Application and Other Benefits: Transitioning the Tetramer membranes low pressure fuel cell performance attributes into the high pressure (200-400 PSI) electrolyzer environment would lower energy costs for industrial gases, transportation fuels and renewable energy sources Considerable progress would be made toward the critical DOE goals of achieving production of hydrogen at a cost of $3/kg and achieving a 76% LHV stack efficiency by 2015.


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