Power Generation and Storage

PATENT PORTFOLIO
Power Generation and Storage
Power Generation and Storage
The development of devices, processes and systems that generate and store electrical, mechanical or fluid power or energy.
NEW CFC Front Image
Cryogenic Flux Capacitor
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.
Spy fixed-wing drone
Double-Acting Extremely Light Thermo-Acoustic (DELTA) Convertor
Glenn's innovative DELTA convertor uses a double-action push/pull piston, in which an acoustic wave - or sound wave generated by heat - pushes both ends of a single piston. When sound waves are propagated down a narrow tube, they transfer energy along the tube. Conversely, when a heat gradient is introduced, it will generate sound waves that will cause the push/pull piston to oscillate. Using thermoacoustics to oscillate the push/pull piston simplifies engine operation by eliminating moving parts such as hot displacers and heavy springs. The double-action piston is contained by multiple thermo-acoustic stages in series that form a delta-shaped triangular loop. One side of the piston creates an acoustic wave while simultaneously receiving acoustic power on the opposing side, enabling increased power on the single piston as compared to a single-action piston. The simple design consists of a helium-filled tube, heat exchangers, regenerators, and a single, non-contact, oscillating piston. Operating at 400Hz, this convertor can produce four times more power than conventional engines operating at 100Hz, with no hot moving parts, maintenance, lubrication, or electric feedback required. At this higher frequency, the output current is minimized and the specific power is maximized enabling an order of magnitude increase in specific power over conventional engines. Glenn's novel DELTA convertor offers this significantly increased specific power in a compact, lightweight, maintenance-free package that has considerable commercial potential.
Green Car
Graphene Composite Materials for Supercapacitor Electrodes
The method is a two-step, low-cost, scalable solution process of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and transition metal oxide nanostructures. The deposition of a hybrid metal oxide composite layer of Co304 and Mn02 is done on a current collecting substrate, followed by the electrophoretic deposition of a graphene oxide (GO) top layer. This top GO layer is then chemically reduced, allowing for significant conductivity while creating a porous, high surface area layer atop themetaloxide layer. Reduction typically is accomplished through the use of chemical agents, like hydrazine and sodium borohydride, or by high temperature treatments. The approach uses sodium borohydride as a supplementary reduction method. The variety of methods by which the hybrid metal oxide nanocomposite layer may be deposited onto different current collecting substrates makes this arrangement extremely attractive. Metal oxide nanowire arrays can be deposited using a huge variety of hydrothermal and electrodeposition methods. This range of methods by which the metal oxide component can be deposited onto a conductive substrate also allows for a high degree of flexibility in choosing of the current collecting substrate. The high porosity of the rGO layer is of great importance to allow sufficient diffusion of ions into and out of the metal oxide composite layer. The high specific area of the rGO allows for a high capacitive contribution from the Electrical Double Layer (EDL), while the metal oxide layer provides for a significant increase to the overall energy density of the electrode.
front
Solid-State Ultracapacitor for Improved Energy Storage
NASAs solid-state ultracapacitor technology is based on the novel materials design and processes used to make the IBLC-type ultracapacitor. The IBLC concept is known to provide outstanding capacitance behavior but has been difficult to reproduce. NASA has developed a careful process to produce dielectric materials to be used in printed electronic applications with reproducibility. An individual cell is created by building electrodes on each side of the dielectric layer, and complete modules can be constructed by stacking multiple cells. Closely related NASA innovations on dielectric and conductive ink (electrode) formulations are key to the ultracapacitor construct, and are included in the technology package. Target performance criteria of this technology include the following: &#8226 Use of standard materials and processing methods &#8226 Robust, solid-state device with no liquid electrolytes &#8226 High-energy densitytarget energy densities of 60 J/cc at a minimum operating voltage of 50 V &#8226 High dielectric breakdown strength (> 25 MV/m) &#8226 Excellent pulse-power performance; rapid discharge and charge &#8226 Reliable performance under repeated cycling (> 500,000 cycles) Additional development work is underway to build and test complete capacitor modules and further improve material properties and performance.
Battery Management System
Battery Management System
The technology is comprised of a simple and reliable circuit that detects a single bad cell within a battery pack of hundreds of cells and it can monitor and balance the charge of individual cells in series. NASA's BMS is cost effective and can enhance safety and extend the life of critical battery systems, including high-voltage Li-ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles and other next-generation renewable energy applications. The BMS uses saturating transformers in a matrix arrangement to monitor cell voltage and balance the charge of individual battery cells that are in series within a battery string. The system includes a monitoring array and a voltage sensing and balancing system that integrates simply and efficiently with the battery cell array, limiting the number of pins and the complexity of circuitry in the battery. The arrangement has inherent galvanic isolation, low cell leakage currents, and allows a single bad or imbalanced cell in a series of several hundred to be identified. Cell balancing in multi-cell battery strings compensates for weaker cells by equalizing the charge on all the cells in the chain, thus extending battery life. Voltage sensing helps avoid damage from over-voltage that can occur during charging and from under-voltage that can occur through excessive discharging.
Solar Panels
Stirling Thermoacoustic Power Converter and Magnetostrictive Alternator
Glenn's thermoacoustic power converter reshapes the conventional Stirling engine from a toroidal shape into a straight colinear arrangement. Instead of relying on failure-prone mechanical inertance and compliance tubes, this design achieves acoustical resonance by using electronic components. In a typical Stirling engine, the acoustical wave travels around a toroid and reflects back, forming a standing wave. In Glenn's device, by contrast, the wave instead travels in a straight plane where a transducer receives the acoustical wave and electrical components modulate the signal. A second transducer on the diametrically opposed side reintroduces the acoustic wave with the correct phasing to achieve amplification and resonance. Glenn's design allows the transducers to operate at high frequency while presenting a mass rather than stiffness impedance. Glenn's magnetostrictive alternator uses stacked magnetostrictive materials under a biased magnetic and stress-induced compression. The acoustic energy from the engine travels through an impedance-matching layer (which can be formed from aerogel materials) that is physically connected to the magnetostrictive mass. Compression bolts keep the structure under compressive strain, allowing for the micron-scale compression of the magnetostrictive material and eliminating the need for bearings. The alternating compression and expansion of the magnetostrictive material creates an alternating magnetic field that then induces an electric current in a coil wound around the stack. This alternator produces electrical power from the acoustic pressure wave and, when the resonant frequency is tuned to match the engine, can replace the linear alternator to great effect.
NASA Plane
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator
This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators, which require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore, they have a limited operational temperature range (only up to 250°C), which typically declines to below 200°C as the adhesive bonding organics outgas and degrade over time. Consequently, they are limited to approximately 93% efficiency at ambient temperatures. Glenn's novel linear alternator addresses all of the limitations of its predecessors and engenders a number of desirable new qualities - notably the ability to reduce eddy-current losses by 25% and operate at 99% efficiency at temperatures up to 950°C. It features a concentric, additively manufactured monolithic copper plunger and stator. The stator is a stationary single copper Halbach array, whereas the plunger is a moving electromagnetic copper Halbach array. A direct current is delivered through the conductive piston flexure support, which also provides reactive power for resonance. It creates a fixed magnetic field similar to that of a permanent magnet, but the magnetic field is channeled inward by the Halbach mover, doubling its strength. By utilizing standard double-fed induction control methods, the reactive power can be transferred and adjusted between both coils. This maximizes system efficiency and minimizes weight. This innovative technology will enable a new class of vastly superior linear alternators with the ability to operate at extreme temperatures with increased performance and efficiency. This is an early-stage technology requiring additional development. Glenn welcomes co-development opportunities.
GRC Pre-mix Burner
Premixed, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
NASA Glenn's fully premixed burner design accomplishes the rapid mixing of the fuel and air flows while simultaneously providing backside impingement cooling to the burner face. This novel burner technology has been demonstrated to operate on hydrogen-air mixtures at pressures up to 30 bar, and at equivalence ratios (Phi) ranging from 0.15 to 5.0, but typically at equivalence ratios below 0.6 or above 2.0 for extended periods of time. It has also been demonstrated to work well with hydrogen-carbon monoxide fuel mixtures in a 1:1 mixture (by volume). The design provides a uniform zone of combustion products and temperatures, and is able to achieve complete and rapid mixing of the reactant gases over a distance as short as 5 mm, with the combustion products attaining a fully-reacted state within about 10 mm downstream of the burner face. Effectiveness of the mixing is not dependent on the use of hydrogen gas, therefore the system works well for other gaseous fuels such as methane, propane, or natural gas, in a fully premixed mode. The design of the Glenn's burner is simple and straightforward to manufacture using conventional techniques. The modular design of the burner lends itself to scalability for larger power output applications. This burner is simple to operate and is robust for use in an industrial setting such as low-emissions stationary gas turbine engine, or for aircraft gas turbine engines.
Carbon Nanotube
Carbon Nanotube Tower-Based Supercapacitor
This invention provides a four-part system that includes: (1) first and second, spaced-apart planar collectors; (2) first and second arrays of Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotube (MWCNT) towers, serving as electrodes, that extend between the first and second collectors, where the MWCNT towers are grown directly on the collector surfaces without deposition of a catalyst or a binder material on the collectors surface; (3) a separator module having a transverse area that is substantially the same as the transverse area of either electrode; and (4) at least one MWCNT tower that acts as a hydrophilic structure with improved surface wettability. The growth of MWCNT and/or Single Wall Carbon Nanotube (SWCNT) towers is done directly on polished, ultra-smooth alloy substrates containing iron and or nickel, such as nichrome, kanthal and stainless steel. The growth process for generating an MWCNT tower array requires heating the collector metal substrate in an inert argon gas atmosphere to 750 C. After thermal equilibration, 1000 sccm of 8/20 ethylene/Hs gas flow results in the growth of carbon nanotube towers.
View more patents
Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo