Accession Number:



Improved Energy Source for NDI Equipment Tools

Descriptive Note:

SBIR Report,25 May 2016,24 May 2018

Corporate Author:

pH matter, LLC Columbus United States

Personal Author(s):

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In this Phase II project, pH Matter and its partners have built a 25 W prototype ethanol fuel cell power system and demonstrated operation of Olympus-Nortec 600D NDI equipment with the system. In the report that follows, we review work completed during the Phase II project. pH Matter has incorporated novel membranes and ionomer delivered from its subcontractor Bettergy and demonstrated excellent cell performance and stability at target air flows using up to 10 molar ethanol fuel. This fuel concentration enables energy density on par with lithium ion batteries at the 25-Watt scale. Further, the company demonstrated up to 15-cell stacks with external air manifold that reduced pressure drop to an acceptable level for COTS blower options, and a novel anode current collector to enable fuel delivery with a COTS pump option. Lockheed Martin subcontractor on the project built and delivered a printed circuit board PCB, which was integrated with the direct ethanol fuel cell stack, the pump, the blower, an onoff switch, and a start-up battery. The integrated system was able to power on Olympus-Nortec 600D NDI equipment without a battery connected, and the system will be delivered to the Air Force. A conceptual production design was presented to the Air Force based on the components used in the prototype. The conceptual design shows the expected size and weight for a system made using next-generation productions parts. Barriers to technology adoption that need to be addressed in future work will include improving the ruggedness of the stack mechanicalleaking, hydration cycles, removing KOH from the fuel, and miniaturizing the system through alternative stack compression approaches and production component designs.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric Power Production and Distribution
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems

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