Highly Integrated, Highly Efficient Fuel Reformer/Fuel Cell System

Period of Performance: 10/11/2012 - 04/11/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


A viable JP5/JP8-fueled fuel cell for UAV prime power offers potential for longer mission range and improved efficiency, stealth, performance, and reliability/availability/maintainability. In addition, the flexible electric power generation abilities of the fuel cell offer unique opportunities for expanded and sustained UAV mission capability from electrically-operated payloads. Precision Combustion, Inc s. (PCI) ultra-compact, sulfur tolerant and durable Microlith fuel processors enable JP-5/JP-8 fueled operation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) or High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (HTPEM) fuel cells, resulting in a complete fuel cell power generation system, including balance of plant components. During Phase I, PCI examined various UAV fuel cell system approaches and their tradeoffs, and demonstrated the viability of developing a SOFC-based JP-8 fueled UAV system. A system concept was developed for an integrated fuel reformer and SOFC system and its suitability and space budget were evaluated for a UAV application. In Phase II, we will build on the Phase I system design to develop an integrated fuel cell power system for ground demonstration, ultimately leading to flight-ready demonstration.