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Integration of Fuel Cells and Electrically Driven Oxygen Separation Systems Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019370D
Publication Date: 2003-Sep-12

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Solid electrolyte membranes that have a high oxygen-ionic conductivity but negligible electronic conductivity form the basis of three important technologies: oxygen sensors, electrically driven oxygen generators, and solid oxide fuel cells. The first is commercial; the other two are emerging technologies. Electrically driven oxygen transfer membrane systems (to be abbreviated herein as SEOS, for Solid Electrolyte Oxygen Systems) have applications in medical oxygen generators and oxygen removal from process gas streams. Conventionally, DC power to SEOS is delivered from AC grids via AC-to-DC conversion. Fuel cells are established as a reliable power source for space and military applications, and are also the target of development efforts in light of their high efficiency (fuel to electric power) and low emissions (regulations). Fuel Cells generate DC power. By integrating the two technologies, the present invention seeks to avoid the power losses associated with AC/DC conversion. The invention will also promote the industrial use of oxygen in general, and SEOS in particular, in geographic areas that do not have traditional electric power grids, but have access to fuel (e.g., natural gas). Further, the invention can fulfill a need for compact/portable SEOS devices; alternatively, the invention will yield a device that can generate oxygen and or electric power. The Invention