Future space missions will require a significant degree of mission flexibility (meaning utilize the resources available at the destination). Power generation devices are one of the critical components that determine the mission flexibility parameter. Solid oxide fuel cell based generation of electric power maximizes the mission flexibility and such systems can be used for the following potential NASA commercial applications: Mars landers, rovers, and other exploration vehicles, sun-independent electrical power generation for crew transportation systems and surface systems, power generation for surface mobility systems, Lunar landers, and other similar applications.
Solid oxide fuel cell systems (with reformer integrated option) demonstrated the highest achievable energy efficiency for electric power generation from hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas, methane, syngas, and other similar fuels. Carbon coking issue has been very detrimental on the long term durability (which has also affected their commercialization) and a major hurdle to overcome without the use of additional water or oxygen in the fuel stream. Lynntech's advanced anode catalysis concept already demonstrated carbon coking free operation without the use of additional water (or oxygen). Potential non-NASA commercial applications for this technology would be: commercial and military unmanned underwater vehicles, military tactical gen-sets, auxiliary power units for silent-watch vehicles, commercial and military unmanned aerial vehicles, and residential micro-combined heat and power systems.