NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Space Rated Batteries and Fuel Cells for Surface Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Advanced Composite Bipolar Plate for Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell/Electrolyzer Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
89 Rumford Avenue
Newton, MA 02466-1311
(781) 529-0500

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Cortney   Mittelsteadt
89 Rumford Avenue
Newton, MA  02466-1311
(781) 529-0529

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Development of an advanced composite bipolar plate is proposed for a unitized regenerative fuel cell and electrolyzer system that operates on pure feed streams (H2/O2 and water, respectively). The composite bipolar plate can greatly simplify "closed-loop" unitized fuel cell/electrolyzer power systems, as it eliminates the need for saturators, a second stack and water/gas phase separation. It provides a substantial system improvement over presently used alkaline systems in that it allows for simple high pressure operation with a high differential pressure. Additionally, it allows for dead-ended H2 and O2 feed for the fuel cell, eliminating parasitic pumping losses required for water removal. Phase I will demonstrate composite bipolar plate-based fuel cell and electrolyzers, and quantify the composite bipolar plate transport and mechanical properties required for system design. In Phase II a full unitized composite bipolar plate stack would be designed and built to size according to NASA requirements.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
PEM based electrolyzer/fuel cell systems have the potential of replacing power systems in many of NASA's current applications, including manned space applications, high altitude flight, and manned stations on the moon and Mars. These composite-bipolar-plate-PEM based systems have real systematic advantages over both traditional PEM and alkaline systems, including integrated cooling and water management systems; dead-ended fuel cell operation, and elimination of gas-liquid separation.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential products foreseen are: the composite bipolar plate PEM electrolyzer; the composite bipolar plate PEM fuel cell; and closed loop, discrete, and unitized PEM regenerative fuel cell (RFC) systems. Electrolyzer applications include H2 generation for gas chromatography, industrial uses and hydrogen refueling stations. PEMFC applications include vehicles and stationary power, where the internal water management provides a large system advantage. Closed-loop regenerative fuel cell systems could use a unitized stack which provides the promise of decreasing stack weight by half for combined PEM fuel cell and electrolyzer systems. A composite bipolar plate greatly simplifies water management for a unitized stack by managing water completely in the vapor phase. Industrial applications include power back-up for computer and energy related systems.

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.

Energy Storage
Liquid-Liquid Interfaces

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19