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Metal Hydride Energy Source for HALE Aircraft Propulsion

Award Information

Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Busek Co. Inc.
11 Tech Circle Natick, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Metal Hydride Energy Source for HALE Aircraft Propulsion
Agency / Branch: DOD / DARPA
Contract: W31P4Q-09-C-0359
Award Amount: $98,664.00


Busek Co. Inc. and the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) of Pennsylvania State University propose to develop a metal hydride based propulsion system for High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft. In Phase I, we will select the most promising propellant combination and design a system around it. We will demonstrate through analysis that the system can meet relevant HALE aircraft goals for power, lifetime, and specific fuel consumption. The complete system must store, deliver, ignite and combust the reactants, and effectively produce mechanical energy that can be used to drive a propeller. The most promising propellant candidate may be LiH. However other substances such as AlH3, LiAlH4, Al, and Li will also be considered during the analysis and feasibility study. In addition to air, storable oxidizers will be considered. In Phase II, a sub-scale version of the system will be built and tested. This program will leverage Busek's existing efforts to develop a HALE aircraft engine, and ARL's efforts to build a LiH based propulsion system for underwater applications.

Principal Investigator:

James Szabo
Chief Scientist for Hall Thrusters

Business Contact:

Judy Budny
Contracts Administrator
Small Business Information at Submission:

11 Tech Circle Natick, MA 01760

EIN/Tax ID: 042881247
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No