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The TMI Regenerative Solid Oxide Fuel CellEnergy storage and production in space requires rugged, reliable hardware which minimizes weight, volume, and maintenance while maximizing power output and usable energy storage. Systems generally consist of photovoltaic solar arrays which operate (during sunlight cycles) to provide system power and regenerate fuel (hydrogen) via water electrolysis and (during dark cycles) fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity. Common configurations use two separate systems (fuel cell and electrolyzer) in conjunction with photovoltaic cells. Reliability, power to weight and power to volume ratios could be greatly improved if both power production (fuel cells) and power storage (electrolysis) functions can be integrated into a single unit. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) based design integrates fuel cell and electrolyzer functions and potentially simplifies system requirements. The integrated fuel cell/electrolyzer design also utilizes innovative gas storage concepts and operates like a rechargeable 'hydrogen-oxygen battery'. Preliminary research has been completed on improved H2/H20 electrode (SOFC anode/electrolyzer cathode) materials for regenerative fuel cells. Tests have shown improved cell performance in both fuel and electrolysis modes in reversible fuel cell tests. Regenerative fuel cell efficiencies, ratio of power out (fuel cell mode) to power in (electrolyzer mode), improved from 50 percent using conventional electrode materials to over 80 percent. The new materials will allow a single SOFC system to operate as both the electolyzer and fuel cell. Preliminary system designs have also been developed to show the technical feasibility of using the design for space applications requiring high energy storage efficiencies and high specific energy. Small space systems also have potential for dual-use, terrestrial applications.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cable, Thomas L.
(Technology Management, Inc. Cleveland, OH United States)
Ruhl, Robert C.
(Technology Management, Inc. Cleveland, OH United States)
Petrik, Michael
(Technology Management, Inc. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: Space Electrochemical Research and Technology
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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