SOFC Based APU for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Period of Performance: 08/26/2015 - 05/26/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nextech Materials, Ltd.
404 Enterprise Drive Array
Lewis Center, OH 43035
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


ABSTRACT:In this SBIR project, NexTech Materials will collaborate with Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) to design an SOFC based auxiliary power unit (APU) for unmanned aerial systems. The APU will be based on NexTech?s sulfur tolerant and power dense SOFC stack and PCI?s sulfur tolerant JP-8 reforming technology. In Phase I of the project, various system design options will be considered and process modeling will be performed on a 2-kW scale, JP-8 fueled SOFC system with minimum 25 percent fuel efficiency. In addition, 3D CAD modeling will be performed to maximize the system gravimetric power density, with a minimum of 100 W/kg being targeted. In Phase II, NexTech will advance the design and build, test, and demonstrate the key features of the APU via breadboard testing. Successful execution of this project will result in a substantial advancement in the performance and capability of unmanned aerial systems of interest to the Air Force and other U.S. military branches.BENEFIT:Unmanned aerial systems are being used in ever expanding types of missions, and with a concomitant need for increased payloads, the weight and power draws lead to reduced endurance. This drives the need for power dense and high efficiency auxiliary power units to support non-flight critical on-board electrical power needs. The proposed SOFC-based APU technology is specifically geared toward the requirements of unmanned aerial systems. However, there are a number of other military power applications that would benefit from the JP-8 fueled SOFC system technology. These include unmanned ground systems, auxiliary power units for military ground vehicles and silent watch missions, battery chargers, tent city heat and power systems, and runway lighting.