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Pressure and Low Temperature Tolerant, High Current Density Solid Electrolyte for Propellant Grade Reactants

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0308
Agency Tracking Number: 205203
Amount: $124,737.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T2
Solicitation Number: STTR_20_P1
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-09-30
Small Business Information
410 Sackett Point Road
North Haven, CT 06473-3106
United States
DUNS: 178154456
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Subir Roychoudhury
 (203) 287-3700
Business Contact
 Rose Anderson
Title: roconnor
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Research Institution
 University of Connecticut
438 Whitney Road Ext. 1133
Storrs, CT 06269-1133
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI), in collaboration with a Research Institution, proposes to develop a new fuel cell design utilizing a solid electrolyte technology that will meet NASArsquo;s target specifications of (i) cycling through very low temperatures (lt;150K) to survive storage during lunar night or cis-lunar travel; (ii) recovery of gt;98% of its mechanical, electrical, and chemical performance post cycling; (iii) capability to process propellants and tolerate standard propellant contaminants without performance loss; (iv) potential capability to sustain high fluid pressures and vibration loads; and (v) achieving current density of gt;300 mA/cm2 (for gt;500 hrs), transient currents of gt;750 mA/cm2 for 30 seconds and slew rates of gt;50 A/cm2/s. The fuel cell will consist of a solid electrolyte in an innovative design configuration and internal reforming catalysts that show potential for meeting objectives, while allowing fuel cell operation with propellants (e.g., H2 and CH4). The innovative design and integration of reforming elements will allow for effective fuel cell operation with tolerance to extreme temperature swing, thermal cycling, and other operational requirements. A faster system start-up is also possible with this approach. At the end of Phase I, a proof-of-concept demonstration will be reported and a clear path towards a Phase II prototype will be described, where a breadboard fuel cell system will be developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA facility for demonstration testing in a relevant environment. PCIrsquo;s approach will result in a system that will be much smaller, lighter, and more thermally effective than current technology or prospective alternative technologies. This effort will be valuable to NASA as it will significantly reduce the known mission technical risks and increase mission capability/durability/extensibility while at the same time increasing the TRL of the fuel cells for lunar/Mars power generation and ISRU application.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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