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FuelCell Energy winds US DOD award to develop electrochemical hydrogen separator

The US Department of Defense’s Engineer Research & Development Center – Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) has awarded Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy approximately $1.5 million to continue development of the company’s electrochemical hydrogen separator (EHS). The EHS system separates pure hydrogen from gas internally generated in a fuel cell, that can be used for industrial and transportation applications.

The EHS research contributes to the development of FuelCell Energy’s DFC-H2 product. The DFC-H2 integrates an EHS system with the company’s high-efficiency Direct FuelCell® (DFC) power plant to produce ultra-clean electricity, heat and pure hydrogen. A DFC300™ combined with an EHS would produce 300 kW of power, heat for combined heat and power applications, and up to 300 lb (140 kg) per day of hydrogen. If successful, this combination may produce hydrogen more economically than other methods.

Conventional methods of separating hydrogen rely on a complex separation step using mechanical compression. FuelCell Energy’s proprietary EHS technology has no moving parts and does not use compression. This potentially offers higher reliability and efficiency, resulting in the need for only half the energy compared to conventional compression methods of producing hydrogen.

The $1.5 million ERDC-CERL program will span 20 months, and will support the scale-up of the EHS technology and establish readiness for a field demonstration.

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