Lithium hydride powered PEM fuel cells for long-duration small mobile robotic missions

Jekanthan Thangavelautham, Daniel Strawser, Mei Yi Cheung, Steven Dubowsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper reports on a study to develop power supplies for small mobile robots performing long duration missions. It investigates the use of fuel cells to achieve this objective, and in particular Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. It is shown through a representative case study that, in theory, fuel cell based power supplies will provide much longer range than the best current rechargeable battery technology. It also briefly discusses an important limitation that prevents fuel cells from achieving their ideal performance, namely a practical method to store their fuel (hydrogen) in a form that is compatible with small mobile field robots. A very efficient fuel storage concept based on water activated lithium hydride (LiH) is proposed that releases hydrogen on demand. This concept is very attractive because water vapor from the air is passively extracted or waste water from the fuel cell is recycled and transferred to the lithium hydride where the hydrogen is "stripped" from water and is returned to the fuel cell to form more water. This results in higher hydrogen storage efficiencies than conventional storage methods. Experimental results are presented that demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2012
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages415-422
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781467314039
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Event 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2012 - Saint Paul, MN, United States
Duration: May 14 2012May 18 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2012
CountryUnited States
CitySaint Paul, MN
Period5/14/125/18/12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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