NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X1.02-8694
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Gas, Liquid, and Solid Processing to Produce Oxygen and Fuels from In-Situ Resources
PROPOSAL TITLE: 6 CFM Electrochemical Hydrogen Pump & Compressor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sustainable Innovations, LLC
160 Oak Street
Glastonbury, CT 06033 - 2336
(860) 652-9690

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William McPhee
160 Oak Street, Unit 410
Glastonbury, CT 06033 - 2336
(860) 652-9690

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Hydrogen is an essential resource for space missions. NASA has a need for equipment to generate, handle and store hydrogen. In terms of handling hydrogen, conventional rotating mechanical pumps and compressors require extensive modification and have limited reliability. Electrochemical pumping and compression of hydrogen occurs without any moving parts and is highly reliable and efficient. Sustainable Innovations has demonstrated up to 6,000 psi of compression using electrochemical cell hardware.

However, for high flow applications, such as a 6 CFM hydrogen pump for NASA, a departure from traditional electrochemical cell hardware designs is needed. The proposed Expandable Modular Architecture cell design, allows a large variable footprint for the electrochemical stack. This is achieved using modular cell parts to create large active area cells. The modular parts are inexpensive to manufacture and can achieve the high tolerances need for large active area cells.

The proposed Phase I activity will demonstrate a single cell Electrochemical Hydrogen Pump & Compressor (EHPC) using the EMA design to validate the modularity of the cell components. The ability to stack large active area cells will also be demonstrated with a four cell EHPC. For both pieces of cell hardware, cycling a pneumatic device will be demonstrated. A manufacturing study will also be undertaken to validate the compatibility of the EMA design with cost reduction pathways. This will facilitate establishing the design criteria for a 3-4 CFM – 1,000 psi EHPC to be constructed on Phase II

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
An Electrochemical Hydrogen Pump & Compressor (EHPC) using an EMA cell design is applicable to several NASA applications. For extraterrestrial in situ resource utilization the EHPC will be able to handle the flow rates, 6 CFM, needed to recirculate hydrogen and facilitate pneumatic transport. Terrestrial NASA applications include capturing, purifying and compressing purge gas for various experimental rocket test stands.
In extraterrestrial applications it is envisaged that the EHPC variable footprint will allow construction to conform to geometric constraints of a spacecraft. In addition, the simplicity of the systems balance-of-plant, a regulated power source, and the proven high reliability of electrochemical based devices means that redundant units may not be needed. The EHPC technology would add a key tool to NASA ability to move and store hydrogen efficiently and safely in extraterrestrial environments.

A large amount of hydrogen used during testing of rocket engines and other space systems is wasted due to cryogenic boil-off loses and pre-test purging. The ability to efficiently capture, purify and compress this hydrogen for reuse, relies on handling large flow rates. Very large cell active areas are needed to meet this need. The EMA cell design facilitates the building of a large scale EHPC to recycle hydrogen. This will be economically beneficial to NASA while lowering the carbon footprint of NASA testing.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The emergence of hydrogen based economy will necessitate the ability to pump and compress large amount of hydrogen. A range of EHPC products with an EMA cell design will facilitate a hydrogen economy by delivering hydrogen to fueling stations and providing the compression for vehicular refueling.

Assuming the adoption of a pipeline hydrogen based infrastructure, there is a need to pump the hydrogen along the pipeline to the fueling stations. A medium to large size fueling station would require 300 lbs per day of hydrogen, which at 500 psi is 1,730 cf. A 30 CFM EHPC system, would allow a fueling station to store a day's worth of fuel in 2 hours.
Hydrogen powered vehicles require hydrogen at 6,000 10,000 psi to facilitate efficient volumetric storage. Sustainable Innovations' cell hardware has already demonstrated a Compression Ratio (CR) of over 400, which is significant greater the then CR of 20 needed to compress hydrogen from 500 psi to 10,000 psi. Therefore a EHPC system with a EMA cell design and a large flow rate capacity would be a invaluable tool in the developemnt of a hydrogen based economy.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Actuators & Motors
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Propulsion
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Pressure & Vacuum Systems
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)
Spacecraft Design, Construction, Testing, & Performance (see also Engineering; Testing & Evaluation)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12