COLUMBUS, OH (June 15, 2015) – NexTech Materials, Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has initiated work on Phase II SBIR project, sponsored by NASA, which is aimed at development of a high efficiency fuel cell system operating on liquid methane and oxygen reactants. In Phase I of this project, NexTech designed a methane/oxygen solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system, established a process model for a 70 percent efficient system, and designed the stack for this system. In Phase II a three-dimensional CAD model of the methane/oxygen SOFC system will be built, the stack designed in Phase I will be built and tested, and the long term durability and thermal cycling capability of the stack will be evaluated.
This project is designed to meet NASA’s need for energy dense and highly efficient energy storage and power delivery systems for future space missions. Compared to other fuel cell technologies, SOFC based systems are better suited to meeting NASA’s efficiency targets while operating directly on methane and oxygen reactants. SOFC power systems for lunar landers and other exploration vehicles are an ideal application for this technology, as well as for power generation on the moon or on Mars. NexTech Materials has established SOFC technology that offers high power density with direct internal fuel reforming and high single-pass fuel utilization, making it uniquely suited for achieving NASA’s performance and efficiency requirements.
Dr. Scott Swartz, NexTech’s Chief Technology Officer, said “We are excited to continue our work on this project, and grateful that NASA has given us the opportunity to do so. The applications of a new methane/oxygen SOFC system will greatly benefit NASA, and extend to other markets where alternative energy and high performance technology are needed.”
The high efficiency SOFC technology to be developed on this project is specifically geared toward meeting the demanding requirements of NASA applications, and leverages NexTech’s previous work on developing SOFC based energy systems for unmanned underwater vehicles. Meeting the robustness requirements (i.e., thermal cycles and rapid start-up) for NASA applications will make NexTech’s SOFC technology suited for other military applications, such as gen-sets, auxiliary power units for silent-watch vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, the internal reforming stack technology to be developed in this SBIR project is directly applicable to residential micro-combined heat and power systems.
For more information, call (614) 842-6606 or visit www.nextechmaterials.com.
About NexTech Materials, Ltd.
NexTech Materials, Ltd., located in Lewis Center, Ohio, is a leading developer and supplier of materials, components and services for the fuel cell and related industries and is dedicated to reducing the manufacturing and operating costs of fuel cells and other electrochemical devices. NexTech is developing technology used in fuel cell stacks for military and residential power applications, sensors for gas detection and control systems, catalysts for energy conversion systems, and coatings for high temperature metal protection. Founded as a privately held company in 1994, NexTech’s vision is to be a global leader in the development and manufacturing of innovative products for energy and environmental markets.