NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-F3.06-8433 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034572)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Propellant Depots and In-Space Cryogenic Fluids, Handling and Storage
PROPOSAL TITLE:Compact Water Electrolyzer for Low-Gravity Environments

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
MicroCell Technologies
67 Sleigh Road
Westford ,MA 01886 - 3908
(978) 692 - 2613

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael C. Kimble
westfordmicrocells@juno.com
67 Sleigh Road
Westford ,MA  01886 -3908
(978) 692 - 2613
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
An improved electrolyzer is needed by NASA for generating propellants in low-gravity environments using water or ice as the reactant. It is desired to minimize the mass and energy requirements for the electrolyzer system to lessen launch and operational requirements during gas generation. The operation of the electrolyzer system in a low-gravity environment also possess challenges to the flow of two-phase gas/liquid flows in the electrolyzer system. MicroCell Technologies proposes a Phase I program to develop and demonstrate a compact and energy efficient electrolyzer that may generate high-pressure hydrogen and oxygen gas. This pressurized gas is generated within the electrolyzer directly without compressors up to 2000 psig that may be used for post-processing the fuel and oxidant into cryogenic storage vessels. Our electrolyzer system generates this pressurized gas within a compact and energy efficient device of 1.1 kW/kg at a hydrogen production rate of 1.8 liters/hr (STP) with an efficiency of 85%.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Our electrolyzer design approach results in a more energy efficient process that minimizes electrical requirements, reduces the system mass, eliminates parasitic energy costs associated with the balance of plant, and improves the system reliability while functioning in a low-gravity environment. NASA may use this technology for generating propellants on-board spacecraft as well as on lunar or planetary stations or rovers.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The commercial applications of this electrolyzer may be used toward generating hydrogen economically as a part of the growing hydrogen economy. The electrolyzer could be used for generating hydrogen ranging from smaller laboratory gas generators to larger industrial generators.