Advanced Balloon Programs at NASA are looking for a potential 100 day missions at mid-altitudes. These balloons would be powered by solar panels to take advantage of the power generated by sun. But during these long duration flights there is a potential of having 12 hours or more of darkness. It becomes critical that there is an energy system on board which can take advantage of excess solar power and store it for the use during darkness. Since these are mid-altitude space crafts, the weight, reliability, and safety are all important criteria for selecting the right technical solution. In the Phase I project, we propose to use a novel Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) system combing non-flow-through fuel cell stacks based on ElectroChem's patented Integrated Flow Field (IFF) design and static-feed electrolyzers. This novel RFC system passively moves water and gas flow in a closed cycle and promises an advanced system to be compatible for gravity independent operation and significantly minimize the needs of ancillary components and parasitic power. This RFC system provides the solution on the system level to reach high system specific energy density by elimination of BOP components and reach 400 to 450wh/kg
Potential NASA Commercial Applications: Along with Terrestrial and Planetary Balloons missions, the technology can be used for the International Space Station (ISS), ECLSS, and ISRU systems, and for on-board power for various launch vehicles to surface electrical energy storage. Our innovative Integrative Flow Field (IFF) technology promises to support the performance, reliability, and safety requirements of these applications.