NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-II F3.06-8433
PHASE-I CONTRACT NUMBER: NNJ04JC27C
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
410 Great Road, Suite C-2
Littleton ,MA 01460 - 1273
(978) 952 - 6947

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael C Kimble
mkimble@microcell-tech.com
410 Great Road, Suite C-2
Littleton ,MA  01460 -1273
(978) 952 - 6947
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
NASA uses a number of water electrolysis units for generating oxygen and hydrogen gas for space applications. These missions range from generating propellants to supplying oxygen to crew and habitat. Consequently, the electrolyzer systems employ a variety of designs and system approaches that can generate high pressures or product gases with varying degrees of moisture, however, most of these approaches result in heavy and bulky systems.

A new water electrolyzer was developed by MicroCell Technologies that allows pressurized gas to be generated in a lightweight and compact design. In a Phase I SBIR program, we demonstrated the feasibility of the electrolyzer to generate pressurized oxygen and hydrogen gas in a compact and lightweight electrolyzer design that can operate in a passive mode without requiring water pumps. Based on these results, we propose to scale the process in a Phase II program to a rate of 0.5 kg O2/hr in a device with a mass of 1000 g and a volume of 300 cc. This translates into high power densities of 6 kW/kg and 18 kW/liter, competitive metrics for an electrolyzer that can also generate high pressure to 2000 psi in a passive balance of plant approach.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
This 0.5 kg O2/hr generator will exceed the minimum and maximum requirements for NASA's Advanced Life Support requirements and exceed the minimum requirements for the ISRU. Our electrolyzer is readily scaleable and can be used to produce even higher quantities of oxygen. Our 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 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 100 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. Additionally, the generated oxygen may be used for portable oxygen supply for medical applications.


Form Printed on 07-28-04 12:14