NASA Working on Fuel Cell Technology

Written By Thomas Ponco on Saturday, July 14, 2012 | 1:30 PM

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Published July 14, 2012

By Huw Evans

Thanks to a deal agreed between UK-based Cella Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration here in the U.S., a new research and development program on hydrogen fuel cell technology is now underway.

Cella, based in Oxford, with a U.S. subsidiary has found a way of storing hydrogen in small beads, making it much easier to store as a liquid and transport, without the need for extremely low temperatures.

By teaming up with NASA, the idea is that utilizing the expertise of an organization with extensive experience in handling volatile fuels and explosives (such as rocket development), the chances for a practical application of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are that much more probable.

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Robert Hubbard, partnership development manager, observed that Cella Energy’s concept has great potential.

“In tests, the hydrogen is stored in its rawest form, encased by the company’s hydrogen storage materials [and] has proven to be quite stable,” he said. “If [the company] is able to successfully get this product to market, I think we are going to see a lot of changes within hydrogen storage and fuel cell industries to utilize safer and more easily adaptable technologies.”

Eventually, the partners hope to use these cell beads in fuel cell engines, which will combine both hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The current agreement between Cella Energy and NASA, labeled a Space Act Agreement, was signed for five years with provisions for renewal.

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