Proton Energy Awarded NASA Fuel Cell Contracts

December 17, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Proton Energy Systems Inc. (Wallingford, CT), a hydrogen generator and regenerative fuel cell company, announced the award of a small business innovative research (SBIR) Phase II contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for development of lightweight, unitized, regenerative fuel cell technology for unmanned aerial vehicles. The NASA SBIR Phase II contract award is valued at $599,160 over two years. The award is based on Proton's progress against key milestones in the SBIR Phase I contract.

The NASA Phase II contract goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing and operating lightweight, unitized, regenerative fuel cell hardware to meet the needs of aerospace applications. Proton's regenerative fuel cell design incorporates the company's core commercial hydrogen generator technology with a fuel cell design, which is capable of generating its own hydrogen at pressure. Building upon the Phase II work, the ultimate design goal specified by NASA is to fill a need for very high energy density energy storage systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV, flight platforms. NASA intends for these UAVs to perform missions in the areas of terrestrial observation and earth science.