NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 14.01-9798 (Chron: 000203 )
PROJECT TITLE
Hydrogen-Air Fuel Cell for High Altitude Aircraft Use



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVís), especially High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft, offer unique combinations of capabilities for use as observation and relay platforms. They operate closer to the ground and at lower cost than satellites, while being capable of staying over a small area for extended periods and remaining aloft for extended periods. The current generation of vehicles for fixed duration operations are based on conventional turbine or piston technology and have flight times limited to one or two days. There are no potential improvements that could extend this time to a week or longer. Missions of this duration can be achieved by electrically driven craft using liquid hydrogen fuel with a lightweight proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell to generate electricity using ambient air as the oxygen source. Fuel cells have adequate performance for this application without the need for precompression, as used with combustion engines, even when operated at the low pressures present at high altitudes (~2 psia at 50,000 ft), but current densities are limited, requiring high active areas. Success requires lighter fuel cell hardware than is currently available. The proposed project will demonstrate a novel fuel cell architecture that substantially reduces the weight of a fuel cell stack.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
There are numerous commercial applications for long duration HALE-UAVís as extremely long range relay and transmitter towers, which will benefit from this development. The prospect of using UAVís as telecommunications relays is currently a topic of commercial interest around the world. The same lightweight fuel cell that permits hydrogen fueled UAVís to remain aloft for extended periods and operate at all latitudes will extend their operating ranges as well, a property that is beneficial for meteorological and environmental monitoring applications. The lightweight fuel cell technology will also improve the performance of other low current density fuel cell devices.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Alan Cisar
Lynntech, Inc.
7610 Eastmark Drive
College Station , TX   77840 - 4024



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Lynntech, Inc.
7610 Eastmark Drive
College Station , TX   77840 - 4024