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Modelling and Analysis of a Regenerative Fuel Cell Propulsion System for a High Altitude Long Endurance UAVIn the search to bridge current gaps in surveillance and communication technologies, a new type of, aircraft is currently undergoing design. The idea of a High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft is already a few decades old, but has only recently become realizable. A relay and collector of information at altitudes of 65,000 feet and higher could greatly improve standards of data exchange, homeland security, and research of the air, land and sea. NASA, as a major force in propulsion research, is exploring methods of powering an autonomous aircraft for days, weeks, or even months without refueling. Such a task requires not only high energy density, but also the ability to make use of renewable energy sources to regenerate power. Hydrogen is one of the most energy dense fuels available. Fuel cells make use of hydrogen by harnessing the energy released as it combines with oxygen to produce electricity and water. Fuel cells are envisioned to occupy future propulsion systems in cooperation with solar cells where the photovoltaic arrays harness sunlight into power which can electrolize the water byproduct into reusable hydrogen and oxygen. Modeling this type of system requires adequate assumptions of support hardware and daily transients in operation. The performance of a regenerative fuel cell propulsion system lies in the flight characteristics (altitude, density, temperature, latitude, etc.). Each subsystem is defined by many parameters which can be varied across wide ranges. Statistical and probabilistic analyses bring forward a wealth of information that can be utilized in the design process. This is necessary since the required technologies are relatively young and barely, if yet, capable. Once the modeling is complete, a design space exploration of this highly constrained scenario can be utilized to find the optimal design. The model will become an interactive environment with which experiments and tests can be run. When linked
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Simpson, Mike B. (Georgia Inst. of Tech. Atlanta, GA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II