ElectroChem Inc. proposes a Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) system which will provide innovative solutions with high energy density storage and discharge. The system would store energy, in form of hydrogen and oxygen generated from an electrolyzer during the lunar day and discharge for duration surface operations by using these fuels in a fuel cell during darkness. The proposed system would incorporate the key attributes required for NASA lunar surface exploration while maintaining simplicity of design, safety of operation and high reliability. Incorporated in the design, fabrication and testing of the proposed system will be our extensive technical and commercial product-oriented expertise which has been entirely directed toward PEM fuel cell, electrolyzer and related balance of plant technologies.
The proposed system is a compact, lightweight, rugged, and safe solution to the lunar mission. These positive attributes stem from three key factors: (1) technical innovation at ElectroChem which developed Non-flow-through fuel cells that permit RFC design simplification, (2) most efficient and reliable Nel Hydrogen self-pressurized high pressure electrolyzer and (3) integration of compressed hydrogen and oxygen in a sealed system with passive ancillary components. Our regenerative fuel cell modeling expects that system specific energy can exceed 800 Wh/kg and round trip efficiency can exceed 50%.
Along with Lunar missions with long duration energy storage and discharge, the RFC technology can be used for the International Space Station (ISS), In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) systems, Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and on-board power for various launch vehicles to surface electrical energy storage.
Applications include backup, remote, and residential off-grid electrical power. Specific market would be the telecommunications, electric power, business computer network. This fuel cell is air-independent which supports the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).