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Innovative Fuel Cell Health Monitoring IC

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Ridgetop Group, Inc.
3580 West Ina Road Tucson, AZ 85741-2276
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Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Innovative Fuel Cell Health Monitoring IC
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX09CD28P
Award Amount: $99,633.00


Energy storage devices, including fuel cells, are needed to enable future robotic and human exploration missions. Historically, the reliability of the fuel cells has been problematic, including the scrubbed launch of the Atlantis Space Shuttle in September, 2006, and Endeavor in August, 1995. A 2007 Department of Energy report indicated that, "Component degradation and failure mechanisms are not well understood, which makes mitigation strategies necessary." A key method of monitoring the performance and mitigating voltage problems is to precisely monitor the voltage from the individual cells. This can be facilitated through the development of a novel Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). Ridgetop Group, Inc. proposes to develop this ASIC for NASA's Fuel Cell voltage monitoring, with the added features of being radiation-tolerant, and including in-situ component degradation functions, which support IVHM initiatives within NASA. In addition, Ridgetop will design the ASIC to add tolerance to space radiation effects, and prognostics-enable the ASIC to provide advance notice of impending failures using in-situ test structures from Ridgetop's Sentinel SiliconTM library. There is currently no ASIC that is capable of providing the foregoing capabilities, so it will be unique and very useful to NASA.

Principal Investigator:

Milena Thompson
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Milena Thompson
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Ridgetop Group, Inc.
6595 North Oracle Road Tucson, AZ 85704

EIN/Tax ID: 860979220
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No