Proton Energy Systems Announces Operation of First High Pressure Hydrogen Production Cell Stack

Multi-cell Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrochemical cell stack produces hydrogen at 2000 pounds per square inch output pressure.

Published: 05-Apr-2001

ROCKY HILL, Conn. -- Proton Energy Systems announced today the achievement of a key milestone in the commercial development of its high-pressure hydrogen generation products. The company has built and is operating a multi-cell Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrochemical cell stack producing hydrogen at 2000 pounds per square inch output pressure. This stack achieves pressure without a mechanical compressor using solid-state electrochemical compression within the cell stack. This novel, proprietary technology has achieved over 5,000 hours of reliable performance in Proton Energy Systems' laboratory since technical advancements were first announced by the Company in December 1999.

Trent Molter, Vice President Engineering and Technology for the Company explained, "PEM technology likely provides the most practical, cost-effective and efficient means of producing high pressure hydrogen gas. Proton's innovative approach to PEM cell stack design may offer cost advantages even over existing PEM solutions. Achieving multi-cell operation is a significant step toward meeting performance targets for commercial systems.'"

When implemented in full-height stacks and installed in Proton's HOGEN hydrogen generator and FuelGen(TM) refueling systems, these stacks will enable the production of ultra-high purity hydrogen at pressure levels suitable for commercial cylinder filling and high-density energy storage. The high output stack pressure also simplifies the design of Proton's FuelGen hydrogen refueling systems by eliminating one or more stages of mechanical compression, reducing the cost and complexity of a final output compressor.

Hydrogen fuel is essential to many fuel cells, such as those under development for automotive applications, allowing these systems to operate efficiently with zero emissions. One of the factors constraining the emerging fuel cell market has been the absence of a cost-effective means to deliver hydrogen to this fundamentally distributed market. Proton's low cost HOGENĀ® hydrogen generators are being readied to reliably meet this need using existing water and electricity infrastructures.

Proton's high-pressure cell stack technology is also a key element in Proton's UNIGENĀ® Regenerative Fuel Cell systems. These systems store electricity in the form of compressed hydrogen gas and deliver it back on demand; prototypes are currently being developed at a scale suitable for telecommunications applications.

Walter (Chip) Schroeder, Proton's President, stated, `"Our ability to make hydrogen at 2000 psi has breakthrough commercial implications for power quality applications. Quite simply, we can now store 8 to 10 kWh of electrical energy in a single standard hydrogen gas cylinder. Hydrogen stored at 2000 psi stores energy in 50% less space than an array of conventional batteries. In addition to space utilization, our regenerative energy storage products are expected to represent improvement over batteries with respect to life and performance characteristics across a wide range of temperatures."

SOURCE: Proton Energy Systems, Inc.

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