Oxygen Source for Underwater Vehicle Fuel Cells

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
6325 West 55th Avenue, Arvada, CO, 80002
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Dave Lowe
 Senior Engineer
 (303) 421-8111
Business Contact
 Dan Thoren
Title: President
Phone: (303) 421-8111
Email: dthoren@barber-nichols.com
Research Institution
 Dan Kiely
 Pennsylvania State University, P.O. Box 30
State College, PA, 16803
 (814) 865-3415
 Nonprofit college or university
Pure oxygen is usually produced through air separation and is primarily stored as a liquid or compressed gas. Generation and storage of oxygen for use in fuel cells in self-contained underwater vehicles is particularly difficult due to the absence of airand the need to limit space and weight. There is a need for development of a dense controllable oxygen source for such applications. An alternative method to generate oxygen is to use a chemical reaction with an oxygen rich compound. Barber-Nichols willcontinue research started at Applied Research Laboratory and conduct a series of small-scale laboratory experiments to investigate the exact nature and kinetics of a an oxygen rich compound decomposition reaction in the presence of a fuel and a catalyst.The experiments will determine the specific amounts of material needed to produce a given quantity of oxygen. Several different characteristics of the decomposition reaction will be monitored to better understand the reaction and predict requirements fora full size system. Once the reaction is better understood, a detailed energy analysis will be performed for development of a full-scale oxygen system. A conceptual design of this system will be presented. Barber-Nichols will utilize the innovativework already performed by ARL to further the promising oxygen generation technology detailed in this proposal. Development of a working controlled oxygen generator in Phase II will prove this technology is feasible and efficient for a wide variety ofapplications. The technology developed in Phase II will have the best use in systems where controlled oxygen generation from a high-density apparatus is desired. The technology will be especially useful in applications in which air separation for theproduction of oxygen is not an option. These applications would include all applications underwater and in space. Other oxygen production/storage technologies that could be used for these applications include oxygen candles, compressed oxygen bottles andliquid oxygen. The overall oxygen density of the lithium perchloride decomposition system will be shown to exceed that of any of these current technologies. Additionally, the system developed in phase II will have the ability to produce controlled ratesof oxygen that may even be stopped and restarted. One of the most promising markets for use of this technology is in underwater applications. The controlled generation rate will make it ideal for the fuel cell power source in which this solicitationconcerns. Fuel cells will become more prevalent as the predominant power source in underwater applications in the future and this technology could prove to be the most efficient source of oxygen to supply to these fuel cells. BN intends to research thisand other similar markets that will aid in design of a modular product line of reusable oxygen generation systems for use in military and civilian applications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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