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Fuel Cell Configuration for Generating Concentrated Oxygen

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021505D
Publication Date: 2004-Jan-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 210K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that produces pure oxygen by drawing air into a configuration of fuel cells. Benefits include producing oxygen from the electrolysis of pure water, without a net production of hydrogen.

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Fuel Cell Configuration for Generating Concentrated Oxygen

Disclosed is a method that produces pure oxygen by drawing air into a configuration of fuel cells. Benefits include producing oxygen from the electrolysis of pure water, without a net production of hydrogen.

Background

The current state of the art in oxygen concentrators is a system based on two containers lined with zeolite, a material that absorbs nitrogen. Each of the two containers alternately absorbs nitrogen from air; one cylinder is purged of nitrogen while the other cylinder absorbs nitrogen. However, these oxygen concentrators are large and expensive.

General Description

The disclosed method produces pure oxygen by drawing air into a configuration of fuel cells (see Figure 1). The cells extract oxygen from the oxygen/nitrogen mixture of normal air, then output pure oxygen and nitrogen-rich air through separate conduits. The process occurs in a continuous cycle composed of the following three steps:

1.      Distilled water is drawn into the electrolysis fuel cell and decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen produced is pure O2 gas, which flows to the outside of the system through a dedicated conduit. The hydrogen flows to the reverse-electrolysis fuel cell through a separate conduit.

2.      An air pump draws outside air into the system and causes it to flow through the oxygen side of the reverse electrolysis fuel cell. Once inside the reverse electrolysis fuel cell, some of the oxygen in the air reacts with the...