Recent developments in applications such as Pulsed Power, Space, High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft and underwater vehicles have created interest in the application of air-independent fuel cells. The attraction for such systems has been the potential for high performance, long life and high energy density allowing for extended mission operations and simple recharge.
A limitation of such systems, to date, has been the relatively complicated balance of plant required for system operation. This typically requires circulation of one or both reactants to remove product water and distribute reactants. These parasitic systems can reduce the overall efficiency and maintainability of the system, create noise and inhibit or prevent certain missions.
Under the sponsorship of the NASA Glenn Research Center Infinity has developed a Non Flow-Through (NFT) Advanced Product Water Removal (APWR) Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell system. The design eliminates the need to actively circulate reactants and can remove water directly from the reaction site within the cell. This low temperature, compact, lightweight technology projects to a system with the operational simplicity and reliability of a battery but with the performance and recharge capability of fuel cells.
This paper will report on the operational characteristics, performance and benefits of Infinity’s APWR fuel cell. An update on development status and recent testing results will be included.