Efficient, High Power Density Hydrocarbon-Fueled Solid Oxide Stack System

Period of Performance: 05/06/2016 - 05/05/2018

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Precision Combustion, Inc.
410 Sackett Point Road Array
North Haven, CT 06473
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes to develop and demonstrate an innovative high power density design for direct internal reforming of regolith off-gases (e.g., methane and high hydrocarbons) within a solid oxide stack. The resulting breakthrough design offers the potential for higher overall efficiency, simplifies the system, and enables further compactness and weight reduction of the fuel cell system while significantly improving SOFC stack efficiency and the conditions for long system life. The approach also offers the potential to operate with a wide range of input fuels (i.e., high hydrocarbons as well as various levels of CO2 and water) without forming carbon. In Phase I all objectives and proposed tasks were successfully completed to demonstrate internal reforming concept for a high-power density, CH4-fueled solid oxide stack system. In Phase II, we will build on Phase I success to develop, fabricate, and demonstrate a TRL-4, breadboard solid oxide stack system operating with CH4. PCI's integrated reformer/fuel cell system will be much smaller, lighter, more thermally effective and efficient, and less expensive than current technology or prospective alternative structured catalytic reactor technologies. This effort would be valuable to NASA as it would significantly reduce the known spacecraft technical risks and increase mission capability/durability/efficiency while at the same time increasing the TRL of the solid oxide systems for ISRU application.