Unitized Regenerative Solid Oxide Stack
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Energy storage and production in space via In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is critical for expanding robotic and human extraterrestrial exploration beyond low earth orbit where re-supply options are nonexistent. Traditional system configurations, in conjunction with photovoltaic solar arrays, comprise two separate systems: 1) fuel cell to convert fuel (e.g., H2) into electricity and 2) electrolyzer to produce O2 and fuel via electrolysis of in-situ resources. Development of Unitized Regenerative Solid Oxide (UR-SOC) Stack for providing both power and utilizing in-situ resources (e.g., H2O and CO2 for Mars mission) has the potential to provide high power density, improve reliability, and enable quick cycling between power generation and electrolysis within an integrated and process-intensified ISRU. Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI), with support from NASA, has been developing a unitized regenerative solid oxide stack system. In this paper, we will present results from preliminary performance characterization of the UR-SOC and system concept design for diurnal operation. Capability for direct internal reforming of regolith off-gases (e.g., CH4 and higher hydrocarbons) within a solid oxide stack will also be presented.