NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-2 X8.01-8730
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers for Space Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Passive Liquid Feed PEM Electrolyzer

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)
Trent Molter
160 Oak Street
Glastonbury, CT 06033 - 2336
(860) 652-9690

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers have undergone continuous development for the generation of oxygen and hydrogen for commercial, military and space applications since the 1970's. Unfortunately, conventional technology developed over this time period has required a complex balance of plant that adds to the overall weight of the system package. Research in the past two decades resulted in the creation of systems that minimized balance of plant components, but had significant current density and efficiency limitations, limiting their use. This SBIR program builds upon recent success in the development of a high-pressure electrochemical cell architecture and inserts novel water management technology to generate a passive liquid feed electrolyzer capable of operating at 2,000 psi - and scalable to higher pressures. If successful, implementation of this new technology can save substantially on system weight with a high system operational efficiency and enhanced current density capability.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The successful development of an advanced passive liquid feed electrolyzer capable of operation at high pressure will be instrumental in supporting energy storage requirements for many NASA space missions. In particular, the ability to efficiently generate hydrogen and oxygen at high pressure allows the creation of high energy density systems for long-term space travel, Lunar and Mars bases. In addition, oxygen produced at high pressure can be used to meet space life support needs, including recharge of the EMU. Furthermore, successful development of high pressure cell technology can be instrumental in the creation of efficient hydrogen recovery systems that could result in substantial savings due to hydrogen loss resulting from cryogenic boil-off.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The hydrogen market is huge, currently about 10 million tons/year in the U.S. alone and a multi-billion dollar business. Industrial markets, such as refineries, ammonia production, chemical plants, etc, use most of the commercial quantities of hydrogen. Most of the hydrogen is either shipped to the end user via pipeline or trucked as compressed gas, at pressures of ~2,000 psi or greater. However, other applications for the hydrogen economy, especially vehicle refueling applications, require higher pressures, up to 12,000 psi. Successful development of efficient, high pressure water electrolysis systems is critically important in meeting these developing needs. It is anticipated that the worldwide combined industrial and emerging vehicle market for hydrogen will be >100 billion dollars.

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.)
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Propulsion
Processing Methods
Resource Extraction
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)

Form Generated on 12-15-11 17:36