Transition Metal Carbides For H2 Purification Membranes

This collaborative projects are in partnership with Doug Way's group involve the deposition of transition metal carbides (Mo2C, W2C, WC) thin films. The first is the use of nanoporous molybdenum carbide thin films as a surface diffusion membrane for high temperature H2 separations, which is a energy intensive process in the petrochemical industry. The goal is to create an efficient membrane that does not involve expensive platinum group metals (PGMs). Our approach involves first depositing a dense molybdenum oxide layer on porous supports. The oxide is then converted into the carbide by temperature programmed reaction (TPR), which results in the production of the desired mesoporous structure. Visiting student Donal Finegan is leading our efforts with respect to oxide synthesis by PECVD. Dr. Mayur Ostwal from Dr. Way's group is leading the efforts with respect to support preparation and membrane performance. A second strategy is to produce dense composite membranes using carbide deposited on BCC metals such as vandium or tantalum. Undergraduate Sara Chmelka leads our effort to fabricate composite membranes by sputtering. 


Support for the H2 membrane project is being provided by the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory through contract DE-FE0001009.