“METALIQ: Passive High Gravimetric Density Sun-Independent Chemical Energy Storage Compatible With RFC (Regenerative Fuel Cells) And Surface ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) Systems”
METALIQ is an advanced chemical process using a passive blend of metals (mainly Alkaline or Alkaline-Earth metals) or metal alloys solid fuel to split water into hydrogen without energy consumption (Sun-independent). Hydrogen is generate on demand to feed a Fuel Cell. How water is the source of Hydrogen in METALIQ technology, the water exhaust from the Fuel Cell can be used in successive cycles until fuel is spent. Additionally the fuel byproducts may be used as water electrolytes for further hydrogen generation steps in RFC. METALIQ for RFCs can also be effectively integrated with surface ISRU systems to maximize use of in-situ reactants.
Chemical Water splitting reactions have been used as hydrogen generation source for decades. Major issues are related to slow response, use of corrosive liquid fuels, activation energy needs, lack of flexible generation flow rate, shock, vibration and tilting non-compatible flight behavior, thermal considerations, etc. METALIQ technology is covering all this issues because its different chemistry and physical configuration.
METALIQ systems offers significant mass and volume reductions, increased efficiency, and capability for operation across a broad temperature range and in intense radiation environments. Energy gravimetric density of fuel can afore 800 Wh/kg with existing TRL5 prototypes and more than 1,000 Wh/kg potential fuel chemical composition.
METALIQ provides Hydrogen for power generation at the highest possible specific energy with sufficient flow rate flexibility in mission environment. Due to its fast response is suitable for any flight or emergency demand (expected applications in surface or space propulsion, life support systems, power emergency backup, etc.). Such different applications, environments and operating modes vary among missions and thus can drive METALIQ fuel design towards tailor-made specific fuel solutions. Drage & Mate acknowledges that some missions require energy storage technologies that are unique.
The maturity of the technology is from TRL4 to TRL6 prototypes for aeronautics UAV applications. The SOA of METALIQ technology needs improvement in advanced material of construction as well as safety, reliability, and durability testing. Further development is required to provide technology that meets specific space requirements.
The presentation can be seen here.