Power Generation, Energy Storage, and Atmospheric Conditioning
The aerospace and defense marketplaces are continually searching for new concepts in power generation, energy storage, and atmospheric conditioning. These needs span a wide range of operational assignments, including:
In large-scale applications, regenerative fuel cells are the lightest means of storing energy (significantly lighter than rechargeable batteries). Applications for this technology range from autonomous undersea vehicles, high altitude airships, airplanes, spacecraft, planetary surface rovers and other planetary surface missions. GES has worked in each of these application areas designing, building and testing complete regenerative fuel cell systems, high pressure hydrogen and oxygen electrolyzer stacks and systems, and novel bifunctional stacks that use the same stack to operate in electrolyzer mode or fuel cell mode.
Giner electrochemical supercapacitors have found an application in sonar buoys that the Navy uses to detect undersea threats to the nation’s security. Emerging applications include robotics, radar systems, and aerospace/defense electronics.
Pound for pound, hydrogen carries more energy than jet fuel, but even liquid hydrogen is significantly less dense than petroleum. As a result, hydrogen fuels have not received a great deal of attention for aerospace propulsion. However, concerns with fuel economy are leading to a growing interest in the use of fuel cells for aircraft auxiliary power and even propulsion. Any large-scale production of hydrogen for aircraft propulsion will require centralized production at competitive efficiencies such as that offered by the SO2 depolarized electrochemical cell under investigation at SRNL and Giner.
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