10, November 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10922
Open Date: 10/11/2021 10:39 CEST
Closing Date: 09/02/2022 13:00 CEST

Electrochemical Pumping is a very promising technology for space applications. Both H2 and O2 can be pumped electrochemically using the current fuel cell technologies. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology can be applied for H2 pumping and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology for O2 pumping.Electrochemical O2 pumping has been demonstrated in 2007 Electrochemical cell with solid oxide electrolyte (SOE) and oxygen pump thereof. In addition, NASA researchers have built electrochemical O2 compressors for space applications. A European Electromechanical Pumping capability is to be developed.Having both electrochemical pumping technologies for O2 and H2 (which should also be developed) available will allow for avoiding mechanical pumps, which are not as reliable. The technology will also enable to reduce the pressure requirements on the electrolyser stacks of any technology (PEM, SOEC Solid oxide electrolysis cells, alkaline). In electrolyser systems without pumps the stack pressure usually is equal to the gas storage pressure. It will be an advantage to decouple these in order to allow for a spin in from terrestrial technology operating at lower pressure. Both H2 and O2 pumping technologies should be developed eventually as both are needed in a regenerative fuel cell or other electrolyser systems (e.g. for water propulsion).The technology can also be applied in life support systems and ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilisation) systems, e.g. Water electrolyser for lunar or Mars surface operation.The activity will focus on O2 pumping technology, and will produce a breadboard for pumping O2 gas.This activity encompasses the following tasks:- Requirements definitions for the most promising application,- Literature review electrochemical pumping,- Selection of the most suited technology,- Design of the electrochemical pump breadboard,- Manufacturing of the electrochemical pump breadboard,- Performance characterisation, durability and safety testing,- Assessment of further development needs.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Franziska Isabella Erkelens-Sickinger
Initiating Service: TEC-EPB
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 3-B-II-Fuel Cell Technologies
Products Keywords: 2-J-6-Storage: Fuel cells

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