This content is not included in your SAE MOBILUS subscription, or you are not logged in.
Energy Storage: Regenerative Fuel Cell Systems for Space Exploration
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published October 18, 2011 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
Future exploration missions, including human missions to the Moon and Mars, are expected to have increasingly demanding operational requirements. Generating electrical power, and also maintaining a specific thermal environment, are both critical capabilities for any mission. In the case of exploration, both a wide range of mission types (robotic, human, ISRU etc.) and a variety of environments exist: from interplanetary space, to the shadow of a lunar crater, to the attenuated and red-shifted lighting on the Martian surface, power requirements must be met. This objective could be met with different technologies. The choice is dictated by the operating conditions and the different types of mission. TAS-I is historically mainly involved in missions related to the space exploration with the presence of astronauts. A typical example is the exploration of the Moon with the installation on the Moon surface of a base inclusive of pressurized habitats and rovers. For this kind of application it has been identified as potential candidate the utilization of Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) System. The RFC is an electrochemical system that collects and stores solar energy during the day then releases that energy at night, thus making energy available all 24 hours. The process absorbs power from an external source (typically solar panels) and stores energy through the electrolysis process splitting water in Hydrogen and Oxygen. The energy is physically stored inside the reactant tanks, one for Hydrogen and one for Oxygen. When the energy is required the reactants are recombined inside a fuel cell, producing electric power, thermal power and water which is re-used during the next cycle. The research is being carried out by Thales Alenia Space Italy, in the framework of a regional program called STEPS. Thales Alenia Space has been supported in this activity by Politecnico di Torino and Hysytech.TAS-I with the associated team, has developed a 10 kW breadboard of a RFC System and in parallel a preliminary concept of a RFCS for a Pressurized Lunar Rover. The preliminary results on this subject are used to perform a reasoned comparison between this innovative technology w.r.t. Lithium Ion batteries technology.
CitationFerrari, G., Pelle, S., Antonini, M., Cabrera, M. et al., "Energy Storage: Regenerative Fuel Cell Systems for Space Exploration," SAE Technical Paper 2011-01-2624, 2011, https://doi.org/10.4271/2011-01-2624.
- “Lunar Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) Reliability Testing for Assured Mission Success”; Bents, David J.; NASA Glenn Research Centre; February 2009.
- “Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle”; Bart Hendrickx, Bert Vis;. October 2007
- U.S. Department of Energy, “Fuel Cell Handbook” (Seventh Edition), November 2004
- Cabrera, M., Saldivia, A., Antonini, M., “STE.01.09.DELIVERABLES”, Hysytech December 2009.
- SD-TN-AI-1088 “Advanced Technologies for Power Generation - Fuel Cells & Nuclear Power Plants Final Tradeoff”; Aragona, Testa; TAS-I; December 2007.
- SD-TN-AI-1197 “Regenerative Fuel Cell Development Plan”, Pelle, S., TAS-I, December 2008.
- Newborough, M., “A report on electrolysers, future markets and the prospects for ITM power ltd's electrolyser technology”, February 2004.
- Palomino, G.T., Bonelli, B., Areán, C.O., Parra, J.B., Carayol, MRL Armandi, M., Ania, CO, Garrone, E “Thermodynamics of hydrogen adsorption on calcium-exchanged faujasite-type zeolites”, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2009;34:4371-4378.
- Park, K.S., Ni, Z., Cote, A.P., Choi, J.Y., Huang, R., Uribe-Romo, F.J., Chae, H.K., O'Keeffe, M., Yaghi, O.M.. “Exceptional chemical and thermal stability of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2006; 103:10186-10191.
- Armandi, M., Bonelli, B., Geobaldo, F., Garrone, E.. “Nanoporous carbon materials obtained by sucrose carbonization in the presence of KOH”. Micropor. Mesopor. Mat. 2010;132:414-420.
- Thomas, K.M.. “Hydrogen adsorption and storage on porous materials”. Catal. Today 2007; 120:389-398.
- Zuttel, A.. “Hydrogen storage methods”. Naturwissenschaften 2004; 91:157-172.
- Ross, D.K.. “Hydrogen storage: The major technological barrier to the development of hydrogen fuel cell cars”. Vacuum 2006;80:1084-1089.
- Wong-Foy, A.G., Matzger, A.J., Yaghi, O.M.. “Exceptional H2 Saturation Uptake in Microporous Metal-Organic Frameworks”. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006;128:3494-3495.