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Fuel Cells for Space Science ApplicationsFuel cell technology has been receiving more attention recently as a possible alternative to the internal combustion engine for our automobile. Improvements in fuel cell designs as well as improvements in lightweight high-pressure gas storage tank technology make fuel cell technology worth a look to see if fuel cells can play a more expanded role in space missions. This study looks at the specific weight density and specific volume density of potential fuel cell systems as an alternative to primary and secondary batteries that have traditionally been used for space missions. This preliminary study indicates that fuel cell systems have the potential for energy densities of greater than 500 W-hr/kg, greater than 500W/kg and greater than 400 W-hr/liter, greater than 200 W/liter. This level of performance makes fuel cells attractive as high-power density, high-energy density sources for space science probes, planetary rovers and other payloads. The power requirements for these space missions are, in general, much lower than the power levels where fuel cells have been used in the past. Adaptation of fuel cells for space science missions will require down-sizing the fuel cell stack and making the fuel cell operate without significant amounts of ancillary equipment.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Burke, Kenneth A. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2003
Subject Category
Energy Production and Conversion
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2003-5938
Meeting Information
First International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference(Portsmouth, VA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 22-755-12-03
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 20040010319.pdf STI