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ISRO Successfully Tests High Efficiency And Low-Cost Fuel Cell

Utkarsh Classes 08-01-2024
ISRO Successfully Tests High Efficiency And Low-Cost Fuel Cell Science and Technology 4 min read

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully tested 100 W class Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell based Power System (FCPS) in its orbital platform, POEM3.

  • It was launched on PSLV-C58.
  • This fuel cell has been designed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).
  • The fuel cell successfully provided energy to a payload of POEM-3 as a battery. During the test, voltage, current and temperature in orbit were measured with the help of telemetry and were as expected.
  • The energy system operated for 21 hours in 15 orbits during the flight.

Purpose of experiment:

  • This experiment aimed to assess the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell.
  • To collect data to facilitate operations in space and design systems for future missions.
  • This fuel cell is a precursor to a future energy option for space stations.

Importance of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell:

  • During short-term testing at POEM, 180W of power was generated from hydrogen and oxygen gasses stored in high-pressure tubes.
  • It provided abundant data on various static and dynamic systems, which were part of electrical systems and physics.

Fuel cell payload:

  • Hydrogen-based fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen and oxygen gasses, purified water and heat.
  • It is an electrical generator that works on electrochemical principles like a battery instead of the combustion reactions employed in conventional generators.
  • The ability to produce electricity directly from fuel without intermediate stages makes them very efficient.
  • The entire process is completely emission-free, with only water being released as a residual.
  • These characteristics make it ideal for space missions involving humans where power, water and heat are essential.
  • It can meet multiple requirements in a single system mission.

The anode of the fuel cell:

  • Traditional Li-ion cells use pure graphite as the anode (the electrode that releases electrons to generate electricity in the cell).
  • This cell developed by VSSC uses a silicon-graphite combination as an anode.
  • It can accommodate more Li-ions in a smaller space, thereby generating more energy.

Application of fuel cell:

  • It will offer a low-cost and lightweight alternative to traditional cells.
  • These fuel cells can be used to replace engines in a variety of vehicles and to power standby power systems.
  • These fuel cells can provide the same range and fuel recharge time as conventional engines.
  • This gives a distinct importance to these batteries and is also expected to facilitate emission-free transportation.
  • The fuel cell is a favourable energy source for the space station, providing both energy and purified water.

FAQ

Ans. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Ans. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C58

Ans. To collect data to facilitate operations in space and the design of systems for future missions.
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