NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL TITLE:Integrated PEMFC Flow Field Design Concept for Gravity Independent Passive Water Removal

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ElectroChem, Inc
400 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA 01801-6519
(781) 938-5300

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael   Pien, Ph.D.
400 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA  01801-6519
(781) 938-5300

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
ElectroChem proposes a Phase II program to advance its very successful SBIR Phase I PEM fuel cell (PEMFC) program. In Phase I, the unique integrated-flow-field design (IFF) has been shown to provide highly superior passive water management that results in a H2/O2 PEMFC that is gravity independent, achieves higher voltage efficiencies than conventional PEMFC designs, can be operated safely at high pressure (with resulting higher efficiencies), will enable passive operation, and requires extremely low excess O2 to maintain stable operation.

The Phase II Program will bring ElecroChem's IFF PEMFC concept to the threshold of commercialization. In Phase II, scale-up and IFF optimization will be carried out. For complete passive operation, stack systems will incorporate an ejector to produce the low reactant flows and for product water removal. High performance membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) will be developed. These Ph II efforts will produce a 250W IFF stack deliverable that will be integrated directly into NASA's Exploration Energy Storage Plan.

The use of the IFF innovation will significantly simplify PEMFC operation and will result in higher and safer performance. Specifically, for space applications, the higher voltage efficiencies produced and the lower excess O2 required by the IFF will result in significantly lower fuel cell power plant weight.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The IFF innovation represents a substantial breakthrough in PEMFC technology that will be capable of meeting a very wide range of NASA applications for years to come. In the near term, the successful completion of Ph II will enable the IFF to meet NASA's critical need for Lunar-type-Rovers (approximately 50-500W) over the next ten years. When the time comes, the IFF will be ready to meet NASA's need for a replacement fuel cell power plant (approximately 15 kW) for the successor to the Shuttle.

And after NASA returns to the Moon and establishes a permanent presence there, it will have a need for a power system (approximately 25kW) that can meet the Moon's 14 day-long and 14 night-long unique requirements. The IFF, with its superior characteristics has the potential of meeting this future critical NASA need via a Regenerative Fuel Cell based upon the IFF concept.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The fact that the IFF fuel cell innovation will significantly simplify PEMFC operation and result in both higher and safer performance makes the IFF very attractive for a wide variety of non-NASA Commercial applications. In the near-term, its unique passive operation and exceptional stability (outside the normal range of PEMFC operating conditions) makes the IFF ideal for powering remote applications like monitors and sensors, which require very high reliability.

Following scale-up and optimization, the IFF concept, applied to the regenerative fuel cell, will be able to meet the growing needs for reliable, non-polluting, and very versatile Uninterruptible Power Systems (in the range of 4-8 kW). And, following further development, the IFF will be able to replace conventional PEMFC systems in satisfying the special requirements of transportation applications, including passenger cars (50 kW and up).

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Energy Storage
Power Management and Distribution
Renewable Energy
Wireless Distribution

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04