NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X3.02-8857
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Energy Storage
PROPOSAL TITLE:Integrated PEMFC Flow Field Design Concept for Gravity Independent Passive Water Removal

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ElectroChem, Inc
400 West Cummings Park
Woburn ,MA 01801 - 6519
(781) 938 - 5300

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael   Pien, Ph.D.
mpien@fuelcell.com
ElectroChem, 400 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA  01801 -6519
(781) 938 - 5300

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The primary power systems for Space Shuttles and future space vehicles are based on fuel cells. Due to inherent fundamental performance, safety and reliability, NASA is interested in replacing the present alkaline fuel cell system with PEM systems. However, the conventional use by PEM systems of O2 reactant gas recirculation to remove product water, enhance cell uniformity, and control humidity could pose a serious safety concern. A fundamentally new PEM fuel cell design concept is proposed that removes liquid product water by controlled convection and wicking through layered porous structures that are integrated into each cell separator plate. This unique integrated flow field (IFF) concept also automatically and passively clears channels blocked by droplets. Furthermore, the same design includes transport of product water back to the entire flow field for humidification and greater cell performance. The IFF design enables high pressure and high voltage operation resulting in higher efficiency.

For removal of product water vapor from the cell, the design concept includes ejectors to passively generate a modest gas circulation.

In conclusion, this design innovation will significantly simplify the PEM operating system while generating higher performance and foster greater long-term safety in zero-g as well as ordinary gravity applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Applications range from EVA (extravehicular activity) life support systems, to regenerative fuel cells for surface electrical energy storage, to on-board power for reusable launch vehicles such as the current and future versions of the Space Shuttle. The technology will be readily scalable across a range of power capacities and fuel cell system sizes. Applications will also include high altitude flight systems that are based on regenerative operation and need high efficiency. Our innovative PEM fuel cell concept promises to support the performance, reliability, and safety requirements of these applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Commercial applications include both primary and regenerative (RFC) fuel cell power systems. Specifically, the RFC systems would be used for backup power, remote power, and residential off-grid electrical power. In addition to many of the above, primary PEM fuel cell applications include aircraft power. Specific market groups would be the telecommunications industry, electric power industry, business computer networks, airplane manufacturers, and homeowners.

This same approach could be applied in all PEM fuel cell designs. This would a) simplify flowfield design, b) reduce blower pressure requirements, c) reduce system operation complexity, and d) provide a fail-safe means to prevent gas-channel blockage.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Energy Storage
Renewable Energy
Wireless Distribution


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12