Ceramic Membranes for Hydrogen/Oxygen Production

Ceramic Membranes for Hydrogen/Oxygen Production

Dept. of Energy

Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

Laboratory: Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

Technology: Ceramic membranes for hydrogen/oxygen production

Opportunity: Argonne is currently seeking companies to collaborate in the development of this technology for commercial applications.

Details: Membranes currently used by industry to separate gases are not selective enough to isolate pure hydrogen—the simplest and smallest of all elements. Argonne has developed a composite cermet that transports only atomic hydrogen, allowing the membrane to separate pure hydrogen for use as a clean-burning fuel and in the production of fertilizers and other products. The new membrane material works on a different principle than conventional porous membranes; hydrogen is the only species that passes through it because it dissolves in, and diffuses rapidly through, the metal phase in the composite. Unlike most membrane systems, Argonne's hydrogen membrane tolerates temperatures as high as 900°C. Such elevated temperatures push more hydrogen atoms into the membrane, accelerating the rate of gas separation.


  • May increase hydrogen production by 32% and carbon capture by 13% over conventional pressure swing adsorption technology.
  • Economical two-step technique will provide pure hydrogen for transportation and power applications from fossil fuels.
  • Effective at temperatures as high as 900°C (other membranes have problems operating above 550°C).
  • Transports hydrogen based on the difference in partial pressure, thus requiring no external electrodes or circuitry.
  • Will produce a higher concentrated CO2 steam, which is beneficial for sequestration.

Applications: Potential commercial applications and industries for this technology include: transportation, power generation, chemical production, petroleum refining, and food processing.

Contact: For more information about this technology, contact Elizabeth Jordan at partners@anl.gov.

To view the original technology listing on the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Portal, visit https://techportal.eere.energy.gov/technology.do/techID=96.