Hydrogen Production Materials Group

Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) has been launched in the market as ENE・FARM. Platinum (Pt) is used in the anode catalyst of PEFC, and Pt is degraded by a trace amount of CO impurities. Thus the hydrogen fuel is required to be extremely pure. Purification based on membrane technology is highly expected because of the simplicity and compactness. At the moment, palladium (Pd) alloy has only been commercialized as metallic membrane materials. Pd, however, is so scarce and costly, and the extent of application is quite limited. Here we are developing alloy membrane materials for hydrogen purification which can replace Pd membranes.

Specialized Research Field

We have selected vanadium (V) as a candidate metal because of its high hydrogen permeability and relative low cost compared to Pd. By alloying of nickel (Ni), we have succeeded to keep high hydrogen permeability at the same time with good ductility and high resistance for hydrogen-induced fracture. We have succeeded to get foil samples as thin as 20 μm, and achieved a high hydrogen permeation flux and complete selectivity. We are trying to fabricate membrane module for hydrogen purification at operation temperature below 523 K. Then we will try to improve the durability at high temperatures (773K), in order to apply the membrane module for methane reforming reaction.

"Fig.1. Analysis of permeated gas by Q-Mass: Gas mixture of H2 + 10%He, 32mm of V-15Ni membrane, at 573 K.  Only H2 gas is detected; He is not detected in spite of its smaller diameter." Image

Fig.1. Analysis of permeated gas by Q-Mass:
Gas mixture of H2 + 10%He, 32mm of V-15Ni membrane, at 573 K. Only H2 gas is detected; He is not detected in spite of its smaller diameter.


"Fig.2. Schema of membrane module for hydrogen purification. The membrane area for permeation is  14 cm2 and process with high hydrogen flux is possible." Image

Fig.2. Schema of membrane module for hydrogen purification. The membrane area for permeation is 14 cm2 and process with high hydrogen flux is possible.




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Hydrogen Materials Group
1-2-1 Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0047 JAPAN
E-Mail: NISHIMURA.Chikashi=nims.go.jp(Please change "=" to "@")
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
1-2-1 Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0047, JAPAN
TEL.+81-(0)-29-859-2000
FAX.+81-(0)-29-859-2029