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Fuel Cell Hybrid Systems for Extended Mission Capabilities

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OBJECTIVE

Develop a semi-automated manufacturing process resulting in decreased production costs and increased production output for compact, silent, fuel cell hybrid systems for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and man-portable power systems.

HOW IT'S ACCOMPLISHED

• Development of an automated system which will include improved quality control tests to verify both cell and stack consistency
• Incorporation of flowable or formable insulation to reduce material waste
• Conduct a design of experiments to determine root cause of flaws during tube extrusion. Develop methods to control contamination, material consistency, and components
• Heat exchanger performance and cost reduction
• Establish a baseline Process Capability (Cpk) and improve all manufacturing process that are less than 1.33
• Increase process yield by decrease tube defects by 50%
• Develop accelerated test methods that can accurately model reliability of systems without the need to conduct 2000 hour tests
• Reduce system cost through a volume cost sensitivity analysis, commonality with COTS components, process automation, and improved component tooling

BENEFITS

• Increased reliability and production rates while decreasing costs for fuel cells used on UGV and man-portable platforms to extend mission duration
• Enabling future robotics projects that are extending the reach of the Warflghter through robotics
• Capability to have long silent watch operations
• Semi-automation of fuel cell and fuel cell stack fabrication processes
• Increased production capabilities
• Improved quality control
• Heat exchanger performance and cost enhancement
• High temp insulation cost reduction and modification to accommodate domestic source
• Accelerated life test methods for solid oxide fuel cells

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