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Aircraft Fuel Cell Power SystemsIn recent years, fuel cells have been explored for use in aircraft. While the weight and size of fuel cells allows only the smallest of aircraft to use fuel cells for their primary engines, fuel cells have showed promise for use as auxiliary power units (APUs), which power aircraft accessories and serve as an electrical backup in case of an engine failure. Fuel cell MUS are both more efficient and emit fewer pollutants. However, sea-level fuel cells need modifications to be properly used in aircraft applications. At high altitudes, the ambient air has a much lower pressure than at sea level, which makes it much more difficult to get air into the fuel cell to react and produce electricity. Compressors can be used to pressurize the air, but this leads to added weight, volume, and power usage, all of which are undesirable things. Another problem is that fuel cells require hydrogen to create electricity, and ever since the Hindenburg burst into flames, aircraft carrying large quantities of hydrogen have not been in high demand. However, jet fuel is a hydrocarbon, so it is possible to reform it into hydrogen. Since jet fuel is already used to power conventional APUs, it is very convenient to use this to generate the hydrogen for fuel-cell-based APUs. Fuel cells also tend to get large and heavy when used for applications that require a large amount of power. Reducing the size and weight becomes especially beneficial when it comes to fuel cells for aircraft. My goal this summer is to work on several aspects of Aircraft Fuel Cell Power System project. My first goal is to perform checks on a newly built injector rig designed to test different catalysts to determine the best setup for reforming Jet-A fuel into hydrogen. These checks include testing various thermocouples, transmitters, and transducers, as well making sure that the rig was actually built to the design specifications. These checks will help to ensure that the rig will operate properly and give correct results when it is finally ready for testing. Another of my goals is to test new membranes for use in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, in the hope that these membranes can increase the electricity that is produced by he1 cells. Producing more electricity means that fewer fuel cells are needed, thus reducing the weight and volume of an APU based on fuel cells, making such an APU much more viable.
Document ID
20050186823
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Needham, Robert (Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186794Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium I