NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X7.03-8742
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Fuel Cells for Surface Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Conductive Water Removal Membrane (CWRM) for PEM Passive Fuel Cell Operation

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
400 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA 01801 - 6519
(781) 938-5300

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
ElectroChem proposes a Phase II program to advance its Phase I effort, to develop a conductive water removal membrane to enable passive, high current density PEMFC operation. Very good progress was demonstrated by the two approaches investigated: 1) Construct a carbon-based composite, higher bubble point membrane; 2) convert a polymer-based water removal membrane to a conductive membrane (both approaches to meet the CWRM primary requirements of conductivity, water permeation, and "no gas leakage").

In Phase I, coating the carbon with conductive/hydrophilic materials was very effective, resulting in CWRM's that met the conductivity and water permeation requirements and reduced gas permeation by 99.8%. A multilayer variation achieved "no gas permeation" at 40 psig. In the polymer approach, conductive material treatments were successful in increasing conductivity.

In Phase II, we will 1) use quantitative control of the carbon coatings to advance the promising carbon composite approach; 2) utilize individual layers with different properties to construct a multilayer CWRM; 3) investigate the use of a conducting polymer to increase bubble pressure.

To produce a polymer-based CWRM, an advanced pore modification technique will be used to enhance polymer acceptability of the conductive particles. The program will culminate with fuel cell testing of the CWRM's.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development of a conductive water removal membrane (CWRM) will enable PEM Fuel Cells to operate passively and at high current densities, which eliminates the need for product water removal via complex rotating machinery. This minimizes the weight and volume, improves the efficiency, life, safety, system simplicity and reliability.

In the near term, this will enable NASA to meet its critical need for Lunar-type-Rovers (approximately 50-500W) over the next ten years. When the time comes, the IFF PEM Fuel containing the CWRM will be ready to meet NASA's need for a replacement fuel cell power plant (approximately 15 kW) for the successor to the Shuttle.

And after NASA returns to the Moon and establishes a permanent presence there, it will have a need for a power system (approximately 25kW) that can reliably meet the Moon's 14+ day-long and 14+ night-long unique requirements. The PEM Fuel Cell containing the CWRM has the potential of meeting this future critical NASA need via a Regenerative Fuel Cell.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The fact that the IFF fuel containing the conductive water removal membrane/separator (CWRM) will significantly simplify PEMFC operation (and result in both higher and safer performance) makes it very attractive for a wide variety of non-NASA Commercial applications. In the near-term, its unique passive operation and exceptional stability makes it ideal for powering remote applications like monitors and sensors, which require very high reliability.

Following scale-up and optimization, the IFF concept, applied to the regenerative fuel cell, will be able to meet the growing needs for reliable, non-polluting Uninterruptible Power Systems (in the range of 4-8 kW). And, following further development, the IFF will be able to replace conventional PEMFC systems in satisfying the special requirements of transportation applications, including passenger cars (50 kW and up).

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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
Renewable Energy

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29