ISRO Successfully Tests Innovative Fuel Cell System with Potential for Space Station Power

By Consultants Review Team Friday, 05 January 2024

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Friday that it has triumphantly tested a cutting-edge fuel cell-based power system with the potential to energize the proposed space station, while also holding promise for various societal applications.

Termed the "100W class Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell based Power System (FCPS)," the system underwent testing in space within the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM), launched onboard PSLV-C58 on January 1. This fuel cell technology serves as an optimal power source for a space station, generating both power and pure water.

During the experiment conducted onboard POEM, the Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel cell demonstrated the generation of 180W power from stored Hydrogen and Oxygen gases in high-pressure vessels. ISRO highlighted that the objective of the test was to evaluate the fuel cell's operation in space, collecting essential data to aid in designing systems for future missions.

Fuel cells like these produce electricity directly from Hydrogen and Oxygen gases, yielding pure water and heat as byproducts. Employing electrochemical principles, similar to batteries but distinct from combustion reactions in conventional generators, these hydrogen fuel cells are highly efficient and emission-free.

The versatility of fuel cells makes them ideal for space missions involving humans, where electric power, water, and heat are crucial requirements. ISRO emphasized that a single fuel cell system can fulfill multiple needs in a mission. Beyond space applications, fuel cells hold significant societal potential and are considered an apt solution to replace various types of vehicle engines and power standby systems.

The fuel cell's ability to provide a range and recharge time comparable to conventional engines, without emissions, positions them as a promising solution for environmentally friendly transportation. ISRO underscores the fuel cell's dual advantage in space missions, delivering both power and pure water, making it an ideal power source for future space stations.

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