Thursday, April 11, 2013
JPL, von Karman Auditorium
Theodore von Karman Lecture
Regenerative Fuel Cells, Energy Storage Systems for Space Applications
Thomas Valdez, Senior Member of the Engineering Staff, Fuel Cell Group, JPL
A recent thrust in the development of regenerative fuel cell systems has been led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Regenerative fuel cell systems provide energy storage at a scale that is larger than what is practical with advanced batteries. In a regenerative fuel cell system, energy storage is achieved via the electrolysis of water to hydrogen and oxygen gas during the storage phase. Consumption of gases then occurs during the energy generation phase, with the subsequent generation of water. It is envisioned that the energy for the electrolysis of water be supplied via solar power. The regenerative fuel cell systems can be used to power robots, mobility systems, and human habitats. This talk will provide an introduction of fuel cells and regenerative fuel cell systems and highlight the features of this technology for enabling future NASA missions to the moon, near-Earth asteroids, and Mars.