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Robust, high-performance, contaminants-tolerant, reversible protonic ceramic electrochemical cells for producing Lunar and Martian propellant and generating power

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC21C0220
Agency Tracking Number: 211369
Amount: $124,993.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T14
Solicitation Number: STTR_21_P1
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-05-17
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-02-19
Small Business Information
930 W Ely St, Suite M1
Alliance, OH 44601-1500
United States
DUNS: 117239978
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Chuancheng Duan
 (785) 532-5637
 cduan@k-state.edu
Business Contact
 Crispin DeBellis
Title: cldebellis
Phone: (330) 806-2671
Email: cris.debellis@spsources.com
Research Institution
 Kansas State University
 
5100
Manhattan, KS 66506-0000
United States

 () -
 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

Special Power Sources (SPS) will harness the advanced proton-conducting electrolyte developed at Kansas State University (KSU) and will deliberately design a novel, robust, tubular, high-performance, contaminants-tolerant, fuel-flexible, reversible electrochemical cells for producing Lunar and Martian propellants (H2, CH4, and O2), generating power, and thus supporting critical NASA missions. This proton-conducting electrolyte exhibits excellent conductivity (gt;0.02 S-cm) and thereby enables ultrafast and efficient propellants production and power generation. The reversible protonic ceramic electrochemical cells (PCECs) operate in electrolysis mode, converting H2O into H2 and O2 via H2O electrolysis or directly co-converting CO2 and H2O into CH4 and O2. These chemicals can be used as the Lunar and Martian propellants. When additional electricity is needed, it functions as a fuel cell in its reversed mode to produce electricity and water. PCECs display excellent fuel flexibility and contaminants tolerance and thus can directly produce and use multiple propellants including H2, CH4, kerosene, and O2.The Team will demonstrate a novel tubular cell architecture by leveraging the capabilities at SPS. This effort will be the first time in the U.S. that PCECs are translated from planar form to tubular cells; this represents a significant achievement in and of itself. A tubular cell architecture is typically more robust in terms of its ability to handle thermal, chemical, and mechanical stresses and thus is more appropriate for NASA missions. We will determine how this tubular architecture can improve its robustness and reliability. Furthermore, we will test the full cell under extreme conditions, such as superfast charge/discharge rate, to determine its durability. In Phase I, we will demonstrate an electrical current density of gt; 500 mA/cm2 and transient currents gt;750 mA/cm2 for at least 30 sec.

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

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