The Ionomr Advantage
The potential for ion-exchange polymers and membranes is immense, where many applications could not reach their potential until now (i.e. lasting thousands of hours versus minutes) due to some main issues.
Problems with ion-exchange membranes in the past have been:
- Short lifetime in harsh conditions (e.g. chemical breakdown, tearing etc.)
- High ionic resistance
- Environmental toxicity
Ionomr is on the cutting edge of innovation and has developed a new class of hydrocarbon-based, ion-conductive materials with the broadest chemical and mechanical stability available.
The robust mechanical properties allow us to produce ultra-thin membranes in combination with high ionic conductivity, providing industry-leading performance and efficiency.
Our polymer-based solutions and future developments are focused exclusively on hydrocarbon materials, a revolutionary polymer structure, which avoids a vast ranges of environmental problems associated with production, use and disposal of fluorine-containing polymers that are dominate in clean technologies.
Our Membranes Are Made From
Fully Hydrocarbon Polymers
Our membranes are made from fully hydrocarbon polymers. A polymer is a large molecule made up of chains of linked repeating subunits, which are called monomers. Polymers can be compared to a freight train: many freight cars (monomers) are connected (bonded together) to form a single entity, the train (polymer).
Today, the most widely-used membranes are perfluorinated (‘per’ means maximum capacity in chemistry – so perfluorinated is ‘as fluorinated as possible’). Fluorinated materials are non-recyclable and generate significant amounts of bio-accumulative toxic waste, which has a dire long-term effect on human health.
Conversely, hydrocarbon materials are recyclable and have minimal environmental impact production methodologies. Until now, they have seen limited adoption in the clean tech industry due to their mechanical and chemical deficiencies. Ionomr is commercializing a broad family of hydrocarbon-based materials, which include AEMs and PEMs which address these deficiencies.
What are Ions?
An ion is an atom or molecule with an electric charge (positive or negative) due to a loss or gain of electrons.
Electrons can bounce from atom to atom to fulfill the attraction in the molecule or atom (some like electrons more than others). Each electron adds 1 negative charge. i.e. if a neutral atom gives away an electron it will now have a charge of +1 and the receiving atom will have a charge of -1. Negatively charged ions are known as anions i.e. chloride (Cl-), while positively charged ions are known as cations i.e. (Na+). A hydrogen atom with its electron removed is a special case known as a proton: H+.
What is an Ion-exchange membrane?
Ion-exchange membranes act like a code-locked door which only allow specifically-charged ions that know the combination to pass through from one side of a system (e.g. a fuel cell or battery) to the other, while blocking everything else.
There are two main types of ion-exchange membranes: anion and proton/cation. The name of the membrane tells you what it allows to pass through. An anion exchange membrane (AEM) allows negatively charged ions (e.g. Cl-) to pass, while cation exchange membranes (CEMs) only allow positive ions (e.g. Na+) to pass. These are also referred to as proton exchange membranes (PEMs), when the positive ion is a proton (H+).
Opposites attract: An AEM has a set of permanent positive ions along the polymer chain, creating a pathway for anions to jump from site to site. CEMs are the opposite, using negatively charged groups to allow the cations to move their way through the membrane.