ISRO: Isro tests futurist fuel cell system that could power space station | India News

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BENGALURU: Isro Friday said it has successfully tested a futuristic fuel cell based power system that could help power the proposed space station while also holding the potential for significant societal applications.
The “100W class Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell based Power System (FCPS)” was tested in space on the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or POEM, launched onboard PSLV-C58 on January 1.Fuel cell is an ideal power source for the Space Station as it provides both power and pure water.
“The objective of the experiment was to assess Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel cell operation in space and to collect data to facilitate the design of systems for future missions. During the short duration test onboard POEM, 180W power was generated from Hydrogen and Oxygen gases stored onboard in high-pressure vessels,” Isro said.
It added that the test provided a wealth of data on performance of various static and dynamic systems that formed part of the power system and the physics at play.
“Hydrogen Fuel Cells produce electricity directly from Hydrogen and Oxygen gases, along with pure water and heat. It is an electric generator which works on electrochemical principles, as in batteries, as against the combustion reactions employed in conventional generators,” Isro said.
The ability to produce electricity directly from fuels without any intermediate step renders them very efficient, the space agency said, adding that with water as the only byproduct, they are totally emission free.
“These features make them ideal candidates for space missions involving humans where electric power, water and heat are essential since a single system can meet multiple requirements in the mission. Fuel Cells also possess significant societal application potential,” Isro said.
They are also considered to be the most appropriate solution to replace the engines of various type of vehicles in use today and to power standby power systems.
“Fuel Cells can provide range and fuel recharge time equaling that of today’s conventional engine, which gives them a distinct advantage over batteries, and are expected to facilitate emission free transportation. Fuel cell is an ideal power source for the Space Station as it provides both power and pure water,” Isro said.



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