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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Integrated Stack and Advanced MEAs for High-Yield, Long-Life Helium Reclamation System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Integrated Stack and Advanced MEAs for High-Yield, Long-Life Helium Reclamation System, Phase I
Gaseous helium reclamation is critical in reducing operating costs at rocket engine test facilities. Increases in cost and potential shortages of helium will dramatically impact testing of rocket engines for launch vehicles and space propulsion systems as the global supply of this non-renewable element diminishes. Sierra Lobo (SLI) has developed an advanced electrochemical Helium Recovery System (HRS), but has identified membrane longevity as a key limitation in the commercialization and deployment of the technology. FuelCellsEtc has teamed with SLI to address these issues. FCE will use their extensive technical expertise in Membrane Electrode Assembly design and manufacturing as well as stack hardware design to address the two primary limitations to the existing HRS technology: Longevity and Throughput. The Phase I effort will identify, test and verify an Advanced MEA based on the particular operating parameters of the HRS. In addition, preliminary stack designs will be initiated which will increase the throughput capability of the HRS by an estimated 10x. These improvements will increase the TRL from 4 to 5 in Phase I and from 5 to 7/8 by the end of Phase II. More »

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