LOS ALAMOS, N.M., April 8, 2021—The U.S. transportation business is the nation’s largest generator of greenhouse gases, accounting for practically one-third of climate-warming emissions. To maneuver in the direction of a clean-energy future, growing zero-emissions applied sciences for heavy-duty automobiles is crucial. A brand new partnership comprising Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory, Introduction Know-how Holdings Inc., Brookhaven Nationwide Laboratory, and the Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory (NREL) will work over the subsequent few years to convey to market high-temperature proton trade membrane (HT-PEM) gas cells that convert hydrogen and different renewable fuels into electrical energy.
“Because the heavy-duty transportation business seeks greener alternate options to combustion engines, HT-PEM gas cells promise a clear, environment friendly different,” stated Rod Borup, Los Alamos program supervisor for Gas Cells and Car Know-how. Conventional PEM gas cells have a comparatively low working temperature, which makes for a low tolerance to hydrogen gas impurities and makes waste-heat rejection a problem for automobiles. “This undertaking hopes to vary that, in addition to contribute to the acceleration of vitality and heavy-duty transportation applied sciences that may allow a clear, zero-emissions vitality future,” stated Borup.
HT-PEM gas cells have potential to revolutionize the heavy-duty transportation business. They’ll enable ships to run on renewable methanol or ammonia, airplanes to run on dimethyl ether or hydrogen, and off-grid energy turbines to work with low- or zero-carbon fuels which might be simply transportable to distant areas. The power to make use of any hydrogen-carrying gas, along with pure hydrogen, is a significant breakthrough in decreasing the required infrastructure investments. HT-PEM gas cell expertise will enable heavy-duty and different hard-to-decarbonize functions to function with excessive effectivity whereas utilizing hydrogen and mitigating water administration issues.
The undertaking acquired sturdy funding assist from the Division of Vitality’s (DOE’s) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office via the L’Innovator (“Lab Innovator”) Pilot Program, which is designed to deal with particular challenges related to the transition of hydrogen and gas cell applied sciences from DOE’s nationwide laboratories into the industrial market. Breakthroughs popping out of this effort will assist to allow DOE’s H2@Scale imaginative and prescient for clear and inexpensive hydrogen utilization throughout a number of sectors within the economic system.
Los Alamos’ contribution to the undertaking is the membrane electrode meeting (MEA). The MEA is exclusive as a result of it doesn’t depend on water because the conducting medium, however on an engineered polymer, which permits for a wider vary of excessive temperatures for dependable operation (80oC to 200oC). “At high-temperature operation, we will construct heavy-duty vans with a a lot less complicated design, which permits us to considerably cut back the burden,” stated Yu Seung Kim, a Los Alamos scientist who began this automotive HT-PEM gas cells undertaking on the Laboratory in 2017. “The heaviest a part of the everyday hydrogen fuel-cell system is the hydrogen storage tanks that weigh about 4,000 kilos to haul for a distance of 350 miles. Should you run gas cells at a better working temperature, you need to use high-energy-density liquid fuels and the system weight may be decreased to 2,500 kilos.”
The partnership formalizes every get together’s function and the subsequent steps to making a viable product. Kim’s workforce at Los Alamos might be chargeable for demonstrating MEA efficiency and sturdiness utilizing screening assessments of membrane, ionomer, catalyst, and gasoline diffusion layers. The ensuing data might be transferred to NREL to assist develop the manufacturing course of for mass manufacturing of MEAs. Brookhaven Lab is chargeable for growing oxygen discount response catalysts, whereas Introduction will check and validate that efficiency and sturdiness are maintained throughout industrial manufacturing circumstances and can assemble the full-scale MEAs right into a commercially viable gas cell stack.