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Integrated Microchannel Reformer/Hydrogen Purifier for Fuel Cell Power Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNJ06JA29C
Agency Tracking Number: 041442
Amount: $599,859.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: X1.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2004
Award Year: 2006
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2005-12-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2007-12-02
Small Business Information
1585 Marauder Street
Chico, CA 95973-9064
United States
DUNS: 933302655
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Darby Makel
 Principal Investigator
 (530) 895-2771
Business Contact
 Darby Makel
Title: Business Official
Phone: (530) 895-2771
Research Institution

Makel Engineering, Inc. (MEI) supported by Lockheed Martin and the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) propose to develop an integrated hydrogen generator and purifier system for conversion of in-situ produced hydrocarbons to fuel-cell-grade hydrogen. With increased space exploration activities, mobility on planetary surfaces becomes a vital resource: without mobility on the surface, exploration activities are limited to landing sites. There are many needs and many solutions to the mobility challenge, depending on the distance and nature of the transportation required. Rovers provide a range of transportation possibilities, from the very small rovers for site recognition to the large rovers for crew transportation during extra vehicular activities (EVA). While very small rovers may be powered by photovoltaic cells, fuel-cell based power systems may be the alternative to power mid-size to large rovers. Due to the various penalties of storing gaseous hydrogen on-board the rover, it is advantageous to carry methane instead of hydrogen and to have an on-board reformer to produce hydrogen on-demand for the fuel cell. Proton exchange membranes (PEM) are currently the choice on many fuel-cell based power systems. While other fuel cell technologies are being developed, proton exchange membranes (PEM) are currently the choice on many fuel-cell based power systems. The proposed system combines microchannel microreformer technology for hydrogen production with palladium membrane technology for hydrogen purification and separation in an integrated hydrogen production system, resulting in optimized size and energy efficiency.

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

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