Pressure Regulator With Internal Ejector Circulation Pump, Flow and Pressure Measurement Porting, and Fuel Cell System Integration Options
- Vasquez, Arturo
- November 2011.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- An advanced reactant pressure regulator with an internal ejector reactant circulation pump has been developed to support NASA's future fuel cell power systems needs. These needs include reliable and safe operation in variable-gravity environments, and for exploration activities with both manned and un manned vehicles. This product was developed for use in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) power plant reactant circulation systems, but the design could also be applied to other fuel cell system types, (e.g., solid-oxide or alkaline) or for other gas pressure regulation and circulation needs. The regulator design includes porting for measurement of flow and pressure at key points in the system, and also includes several fuel cell system integration options. NASA has recognized ejectors as a viable alternative to mechanical pumps for use in spacecraft fuel cell power systems. The ejector motive force is provided by a variable, high-pressure supply gas that travels through the ejector s jet nozzle, whereby the pressure energy of the fluid stream is converted to kinetic energy in the gas jet. The ejector can produce circulation-to-consumption-flow ratios that are relatively high (2-3 times), and this phenomenon can potentially (with proper consideration of the remainder of the fuel cell system s design) be used to provide completely for reactant pre-humidification and product water removal in a fuel cell system. Specifically, a custom pressure regulator has been developed that includes: (1) an ejector reactant circulation pump (with interchangeable jet nozzles and mixer sections, gas-tight sliding and static seals in required locations, and internal fluid porting for pressure-sensing at the regulator's control elements) and (2) internal fluid porting to allow for flow rate and system pressure measurements. The fluid porting also allows for inclusion of purge, relief, and vacuum-breaker check valves on the regulator assembly. In addition, this regulator could also be used with NASA's advanced nonflow-through fuel cell power systems by simply incorporating a jet nozzle with an appropriate nozzle diameter.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20120006722.
NASA Tech Briefs, November 2011; 16.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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