Low Energy Electromechanical Method for Removal of Carbon Monoxide from Hydrogen Streams for Fuel Cells

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Schematic flow diagram of a system for the deep removal of a low level CO from H2 feed stream
Cunping Huang, Ph.D.
Mohamed Elbaccouch, Ph.D.
James Fenton, Ph.D.
Ruichun Jiang, Ph.D.
Nazim Muradov, Ph.D.
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Raju Nagaiah
Licensing Associate 407.882.0593
Patent Protection

Electrochemical method for the removal of PPM levels of carbon monoxide from hydrogen for a fuel cell

US Patent 9,263,756
On-board Removal of CO and Other Impurities in Hydrogen for PEM Fuel Cell Applications
Journal of Power Sources, 2006, 162, 563.

A method, system and apparatus for efficient removal of carbon monoxide from hydrogen streams utilizing an anode to provide free oxygen to combine with the contaminate which produces carbon dioxide

Hydrogen gas has several advantages as a fuel source; it is renewable, produces no pollution, gives good energy output and is common. To fully utilize the potential of hydrogen as an energy source it must be of high purity. Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the most common impurities present in streams of hydrogen gas, and even low levels can cause significant degradation in the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells transform chemical energy liberated during the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) into electrical energy. Current methods of removing CO from hydrogen streams do not work directly with fuel cell technology. Such methods for on-board removal of CO either require high temperatures (which reduce the efficiency of fuel cells), work only on a limited range of CO concentrations or become highly explosive upon mixing with O2. In addition, these current technologies consume significant amounts of electricity during the removal process.

Technical Details

UCF engineers and scientists have a designed a more efficient process that operates under milder conditions (low temperature and pressure) without the need of additional input devices ( such as air supplies or oxygen feeds) for the efficient removal of carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide within the hydrogen feed stream is introduced to an anode in an electrolyte, whereby energy generated splits water (H2O) into oxygen and hydrogen; the oxygen then combines with the carbon monoxide to form a stable gas (carbon dioxide) that dissolves readily in water. The process is quick, efficient and takes place with minimum energy loss. This invention also represents methods and apparatus for the removal of other harmful gases from hydrogen streams such as, hydrogen sulfide, sulfide dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.


  • Fast and efficient removal of carbon monoxide CO from hydrogen gas streams
  • Operates with little energy consumption
  • Removal of multiple impurities for a significant increase in the performance of fuel cells
  • Can be incorporated into the fuel supply system on-board the vehicle or within the device


  • On-board removal of CO (and other harmful gases) from hydrogen gas streams utilized for fuel cells
  • Hydrogen fuel cells, or the devices and vehicles which incorporate them