Innovative Fuel Cell Health Monitoring IC
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.
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Ridgetop Group, Inc.
6595 North Oracle Road Tucson, AZ 85704
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