NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- A6.02-8960 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023039 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Nanotechnology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ultrahigh Volumetric Energy Density PEM Fuel Cells

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanohmics, LLC
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 415 - 8748

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steve Savoy
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 415 - 8748

A nanoassembly process for constructing ultrahigh volumetric energy density PEM fuel cell stacks is proposed. The method does not require vapor deposition techniques, bulk sintering or post-loading treatments of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). The method enables ultimate control of two key parameters: the total catalyst to electrode volume and the total surface area of the tri-phase interface to volume of the complete MEA. A synthesis route for the formation of noble metal catalytic nanoparticles that are coated in situ with an electrically conducting carbon aerogel is proposed. Deposition of the low-density conducting coat directly on the surface of the catalyst nanoparticles will maximize the electrode/catalyst volumetric ratio. Furthermore, manipulating monolayers of the novel aerogel?coated catalyst particles will maximize the ratio of the surface area of the electrode/membrane interface to the overall MEA volume and perfluorosulfonic acid membrane using a film transfer technique.

Methods for increasing the volumetric energy density of small-scale fuel cell devices are in high demand as the ultimate reduction in size and weight of components in portable electronic devices is highly beneficial for consumer use. The proposed effort will lead to ultrathin fuel cell stacks that have the highest volumetric efficiency of both the electrode to catalyst concentration ratio as well as the total surface area of effective tri-phase interface to the overall volume of the complete membrane electrode assembly

The proposed research program will lead to ultrahigh volumetric efficiency power supplies. This concern, in general, is of utmost importance for NASA terrestrial and planetary missions where the volume and mass of subsystems is critical. The proposed plan will eliminate superfluous mass and volume of a power source that is used by NASA to both drive major systems and small scale applications such as diagnostic instrumentation, probes, etc.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10