Hydrogen Generation Salt-water Electrolysis with Chemical Compression

Navy SBIR 24.2 - Topic N242-070
MCSC - Marine Corps Systems Command
Pre-release 4/17/24   Opened to accept proposals 5/15/24   Closes 6/12/24 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N242-070 TITLE: Hydrogen Generation Salt-water Electrolysis with Chemical Compression

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials; Renewable Energy Generation and Storage

OBJECTIVE: Develop a hydrogen generation system that uses salt water to produce one to five kg of hydrogen over a 24-hour period in an austere environment. All components of the system shall be stored, transported, and operated in quad-con ISO containers. The system shall be required to leverage Onboard Vehicle Power (OVP), currently fielded tactical generators, and alternative power sources (e.g., solar or mobile nuclear power generation).

DESCRIPTION: As part of its future force modernization efforts, the Marine Corps seeks to deploy small, disaggregated hydrogen generation units to foreign locations where access to energy sources will be limited or unavailable. These units are to specifically support the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), a form of expeditionary warfare that involves the employment of mobile, low-signature, naval expeditionary forces that operate from a series of austere, temporary locations.


Systems must meet Threshold requirements = (T)

It is highly desirable that the system meet Objective requirements = (O)

• The system shall produce 1-3 kg (T) or 3-5 kg (O) of Hydrogen over a 24-hour period.

• The system shall accept a water source with up to 60K PPM of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) (T=O).

• The system will be powered by 28 VDC; 208VAC, 3 -phase; or 120VAC, single-phase (T=O).

• Can fit and be secured in a Quadcon (T) or a JMIC (O) ISO containers.

• The system will be transportable via MTVR or JLTV Trailer (T=O).

• Applicable MIL-STD 810 standards (T=O).

o Hi/Low Temp

o Environmental

o Shock and Vibration

o Transportability

• Applicable MIL-STD-1472 standards (T=O).

o Weight

o Lifting

o Displays

o Alarms

PHASE I: Develop concepts for Hydrogen Generation via Salt-water Electrolysis with Chemical Compression that meets the requirements described above. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps requirements. Establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones, and that will address technical risk reduction.

PHASE II: Develop 1-2 prototype Hydrogen Generation Salt-water Electrolysis with Chemical Compression systems for evaluation to determine their capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Description above. Demonstrate technology performance through prototype evaluation and modeling over the required range of parameters. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements; and for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment approved by the Government. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use. The technology should reach TRL 6/7 at the conclusion of this phase.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. Support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use. The prototypes shall by TRL 8 at the conclusion of testing.

Commercial applications may include, but not be limited to: fuel cells, automotive applications, alternative energy, home power systems, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, homeland security, and emergency services.


  1. Mohammed-Ibrahim, Jamesh. "Recent advances on hydrogen production through seawater electrolysis." Materials Science for Energy Technologies. Volume 3, 2020, Pp. 780-807
  2. "Advances in Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression and Purification." Peter Jaime Bouwman. The Electrochemical Society. 2016
  3. Department of Defense. MIL-STD-810H, Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests. 31 January 2019
  4. Dept of Defense. MIL-STD-1472H, Human Engineering. 15 September 2020

KEYWORDS: Hydrogen; Electrolysis; Energy; Compression; Water; Electrochemical


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 24.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/#announcements for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 24.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 17, 2024 which opens to receive proposals on May 15, 2024, and closes June 12, 2024 (12:00pm ET).

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Topic Q & A

5/23/24  Q. Any limitations on use of solid, liquid or gaseous materials in the proposed system in terms of safety, potential exposure to hazardous substances, etc.
   A. System shall provide for safe operation by meeting the applicable MIL-STDs.
5/23/24  Q. Does the system need to consider only H2 production components, or does the full system need to include compression and storage as well?
   A. The full system will include a means of compression. The storage system is independent and does not need to fit in the same Quadcon/JMIC.
5/23/24  Q. Do we need to consider how the H2 is recovered or purified, or is it sufficient to define the system to meet the desired H2 production rate only?
   A. The system shall generate hydrogen at the desired production rate that is ready for use.
05/7/24  Q. The power requirements are clearly stated but is there an efficiency requirement as well?
   A. We will be open to an alternative approach. However, the proposal must address efficiencies, minimize logistics foot print, and address operation in an austere environment.
05/7/24  Q. The requirement states that hydrogen electrolysis must be done using salt with up to 60Kppm solids. Does this requirement preclude the design from utilizing a pre-process for purification? ie. Filtering or distillation?
   A. No. We understand that this approach may be taken by the vendors to support treatment of sea water and brackish water.
05/7/24  Q. The topic specifies developing concepts for hydrogen generation "via Salt-water Electrolysis with Chemical Compression." This appears to prescribe a technical approach. Is the topic limited to this technical approach or is it open to other approaches of generating hydrogen from seawater to meet the requirements?
   A. We will be open to an alternative approach. However, the proposal must address efficiencies, minimize logistics foot print, and address operation in an austere environment.

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