Cryogenic Flux Capacitor
power generation and storage
Cryogenic Flux Capacitor (KSC-TOPS-62)
A Device for Solid-State Storage and On-Demand Distribution of Cryogenic Fluid Commodities
NASA Kennedy Space Center seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Cryogenic Flux Capacitor (CFC). This new technology capitalizes on the energy storage capacity of liquefied gasses. By exploiting a unique attribute of nano-porous materials, aerogel in this case, fluid commodities such as oxygen, hydrogen, methane, etc. can be stored in a molecular surface-adsorbed state. This cryogenic fluid can be stored at low to moderate pressure densities, on par with liquid, and then quickly converted to a gas, when the need arises. This solution reduces both safety-related logistics issues and the limitations of complex storage systems. Currently, high pressured gasses are stored in vessels with heavy thick walls that require constant pressurization and complex storage systems to limit boil-off. These systems are not well suited to overly dynamic situations where the tank orientation can change suddenly. NASA's CFC address all of the aforementioned issues, simplifying current operations and opening the possibilities for new applications and new markets from cryogenic liquid.
Storage and transfer of fluid commodities such as oxygen, hydrogen, natural gas, nitrogen, argon, etc. is an absolute necessity in virtually every industry on Earth. These fluids are typically contained in one of two ways; as low pressure, cryogenic liquids, or as a high pressure gases. Energy storage is not useful unless the energy can be practically obtained ("un-stored") as needed. Here the goal is to store as many fluid molecules as possible in the smallest, lightest weight volume possible; and to supply ("un-store") those molecules on demand as needed in the end-use application. The CFC concept addresses this dual storage/usage problem with an elegant charging/discharging design approach. The CFC's packaging is ingeniously designed, tightly packing aerogel composite materials within a container allows for a greater amount of storage media to be packed densely and strategically. An integrated conductive membrane also acts as a highly effective heat exchanger that easily distributes heat through the entire container to discharge the CFC quickly, it can also be interfaced to a cooling source for convenient system charging; this feature also allows the fluid to easily saturate the container for fast charging. Additionally, the unit can be charged either with cryogenic liquid or from an ambient temperature gas supply, depending on the desired manner of refrigeration. Finally, the heater integration system offers two promising methods, both of which have been fabricated and tested, to evenly distribute heat throughout the entire core, both axially and radially.
- Compact fuel storage
- Light weight
- Low to moderate storage pressures
- Fast charge-up times
- On-demand, fast discharges
- Fuel Cells
power generation and storage