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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: 80NSSC22CA019
Agency Tracking Number: 205203
Amount: $749,854.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T2
Solicitation Number: STTR_20_P2
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-17
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
 Rebecca O'Connor
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Research Institution
2152 Hillside Rd Unit 3046
Storrs, CT 06269-3046
United States

 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI), in collaboration with a Research Institution, proposes to further mature 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) capability to sustain high 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 consists of a solid electrolyte in an innovative design configuration and internal reforming catalysts, allowing fuel cell operation with propellants. The innovative cell design and integration of reforming elements demonstrated effective fuel cell operation with tolerance to extreme temperature swing, thermal cycling, and large differential pressure. A high-performing fuel cell design was successfully fabricated and optimized in Phase I, and its performance experimentally evaluated. Extreme thermal cycling capability to lt;150 K, with fast heat-up to its operational temperature was also demonstrated. At the end of Phase I, a clear path towards a Phase II prototype was described, where a breadboard hardware will benbsp;developed, demonstrated, and delivered to a NASA facility for demonstration testing. PCIrsquo;s approach will result in a system that will be much smaller, lighter, and more thermally effective than current 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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