Oregon Patent of the Month – September 2023

H2 PowerTech, LLC (formerly IdaTech) first made a name for themselves, developing fuel cell systems for telecommunications. Now, they focus their expertise on providing industry leading reformers, hydrogen production, and fuel cell technology along with product research and development services. Recently, this effort has led to a patent for their membrane-based hydrogen purifiers. These devices play a crucial role in separating hydrogen gas from gas mixtures, ensuring its purity for various applications, including fuel cells and energy storage.

Hydrogen, known for its clean-burning properties and potential to revolutionize the energy sector, is often found in gas mixtures alongside other gasses. To harness its full potential, it must be separated from these mixtures efficiently and effectively. This is where H2 PowerTech’s groundbreaking technology comes into play.

H2 PowerTech’s hydrogen purifiers are designed around a hydrogen-selective membrane module. This module contains membrane cells, each featuring a hydrogen-selective membrane. These membranes have a unique ability: they allow hydrogen gas to pass through while blocking other gasses. This selective permeation process is the heart of the purification system.

One of the key innovations in these purifiers is the use of graphite frame members. These frame members play a critical role in supporting the hydrogen-selective membranes and forming seals within the purifier. What sets these frame members apart is their composition and properties.

H2 PowerTech’s graphite frame members are engineered to be highly pure, with carbon content exceeding 99%. This exceptional purity ensures that impurities in the frame members won’t interfere with the hydrogen-selective membranes, allowing for efficient hydrogen separation.

Another critical aspect is the control of particulate matter within the frame members. H2 PowerTech’s frame members are designed to minimize granular particulates, reducing the risk of damaging the hydrogen-selective membranes during contact.

By using fine granular particulate in their frame members, H2 PowerTech achieves a smoother membrane-contacting face with reduced surface roughness. This optimization enhances the overall efficiency of the hydrogen purifier.

Impurities such as sulfur and halides can negatively impact the performance of hydrogen purifiers. H2 PowerTech’s frame members are meticulously crafted to limit these impurities, ensuring consistent and reliable purification.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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