Clean Energy Using Nafion™ Membranes

Enabling the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Marketplace

As international treaties, country-based regulations, and statewide initiatives focus on reducing CO₂ in the atmosphere, finding sustainable means to produce clean energy is becoming essential. Entire industries are emerging worldwide to accomplish this goal.

Nafion™ proton exchange membranes (PEMs) are well-positioned to play a significant role in the transition to clean energy through a variety of approaches, including:

  • Small-scale fuel cells for transportation
  • Commercial-scale fuel cells for stationary power generation
  • Hydrogen production via electrolysis for energy storage

Nafion™ membranes are essential for the energy industry because they offer performance, strength, thickness, operating voltage range, support for intermittent energy input, and the ability to retain properties over time.

A Win-Win Transition

With the global deployment of wind and solar power systems on the rise, energy storage systems are in critical demand. In some cases, the production of these renewable energies can't match the demand for electricity. In other cases, utilities need a way to stabilize their grids when incorporating plentiful amounts of wind and solar energy. Hydrogen production via water electrolysis is an ideal solution to balance both situations.

While there are many ways to break water apart, the ability of PEM systems to operate at high current densities can reduce operational costs. This is especially true for systems coupled with very dynamic energy sources such as wind and solar, where sudden spikes in energy input would otherwise result in uncaptured energy.

Other advantages Nafion™ PEMs in hydrogen production include:

  • Very high strength, providing easier handling and more resistance to operational physical upsets
  • An improved reinforcing structure, providing impurity resistance and lower voltage support
  • Excellent performance, even in challenging conditions