Regenerative fuel cells for High Altitude Long Endurance Solar Powered Aircraft

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High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned missions appear to be feasible using a lightweight, high efficiency, span-loaded, Solar Powered Aircraft (SPA) which includes a Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) system and novel tankage for energy storage. An existing flightworthy electric powered flying wing design was modified to incorporate present and near-term technologies in energy storage, power electronics, aerodynamics, and guidance and control in order to design philosophy was to work with vendors to identify affordable near-term technological opportunities that could be applied to existing designs in order to reduce weight, increase reliability, and maintain adequate efficiency of components for delivery within ... continued below

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8 p.

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Mitlitsky, F.; Colella, N. J.; Myers, B. & Anderson, C. J. June 2, 1993.

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High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned missions appear to be feasible using a lightweight, high efficiency, span-loaded, Solar Powered Aircraft (SPA) which includes a Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) system and novel tankage for energy storage. An existing flightworthy electric powered flying wing design was modified to incorporate present and near-term technologies in energy storage, power electronics, aerodynamics, and guidance and control in order to design philosophy was to work with vendors to identify affordable near-term technological opportunities that could be applied to existing designs in order to reduce weight, increase reliability, and maintain adequate efficiency of components for delivery within 18 months. The energy storage subsystem for a HALE SPA is a key driver for the entire vehicle because it can represent up to half of the vehicle weight and most missions of interest require the specific energy to be considerably higher than 200 W-hr/kg for many cycles. This stringent specific energy requirement precludes the use of rechargeable batteries or flywheels and suggests examination of various RFC designs. An RFC system using lightweight tankage, a single fuel cell (FC) stack, and a single electrolyzer (EC) stack separated by the length of a spar segment (up to 39 ft), has specific energy of {approximately}300 W-hr/kg with 45% efficiency, which is adequate for HALE SPA requirements. However, this design has complexity and weight penalties associated with thermal management, electrical wiring, plumbing, and structural weight. A more elegant solution is to use unitized RFC stacks (reversible stacks that act as both FCs and ECs) because these systems have superior specific energy, scale to smaller systems more favorably, and have intrinsically simpler thermal management.

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8 p.

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OSTI; NTIS; GPO Dep.

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  • 28. intersociety energy conversion engineering conference,Atlanta, GA (United States),8-13 Aug 1993

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  • Other: DE93016991
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--113485
  • Report No.: CONF-930804--12
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 10169663
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1384696

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  • June 2, 1993

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 28, 2018, 2:33 p.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2018, 3:29 p.m.

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Mitlitsky, F.; Colella, N. J.; Myers, B. & Anderson, C. J. Regenerative fuel cells for High Altitude Long Endurance Solar Powered Aircraft, article, June 2, 1993; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1384696/: accessed January 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.