Monday, March 9, 2009

EEStor Mentioned in NASA Funded Trade Study

Five years ago, President Bush laid out his vision for space exploration which would include a return to the moon by 2020 "with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods of time. In April 2006 NASA announced it would take up the challenge. It then spent the next 2 years "studying the various functional needs and technical challenges inherent in exploration of the Lunar Surface. In May of 2008, NASA had narrowed down a range of areas where it needed additional, more detailed study. It announced this via a Broad Agency Announcement in June 2008. Several areas of interest were identified for contracted further study. One area of interest was the need for power to be generated/stored especially at night. A trade study was contracted out to a longtime NASA and aerospace contractor, Hamilton Sundstrand to identify power beaming/energy storage technologies worthy of attention and/or incorporation into NASA's lunar mission plans.

During the last week of February 2009, a workshop was held to give various participants the opportunity to present their findings. Hamilton Sundstrand's work on power beam/energy storage was presented by Dr. Cheng-Yi Lu and Jim McClanahan. Their conclusion was that NASA should pursue a Regenerative Fuel Cell with cryogenic storage technology for surface energy storage. To arrive at this conclusion, Lu and McClanahan looked at a select few storage options (Li-Ion batteries, Flywheel, Li-Polymer, Thin Film Li-S batteries) and of course, EEStor Inc.

A key goal was to identify technologies which would achieve a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 by the 2015-2018 timeframe. TRL's "are a systematic metric/measurement system that supports assessments of the maturity of a particular technology and the consistent comparison of maturity between different types of technology. " EEStor's EESU technology was considered among Lu and McClanahan's surface energy storage technologies and judged to be at a TRL of 5. At this level of development, "the basic technological elements must be integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the total applications (component-level, sub-system level, or system-level) can be tested in a ‘simulated’ or somewhat realistic environment." How do you get to a TRL of 6? The technology should be tested in Space.

This contracted trade study conducted by Hamilton Sundstrand for NASA raises a few interesting questions concerning EEStor. Did the researchers have access to EEStor data to assess their TRL? If not, what forms the basis for their conclusion that EEStor has achieved a level of testing equal to the requirements of a TRL of 5? Did EEStor share this information with Hamilton Sundstrand?

If Hamilton Sundstrand is aware of 3rd party test data upon which their conclusion is based, then it seems very reasonable to assume that EEStor has achieved the Zenn Motor Company permittivity milestone. Correct, ZMC? Prototypes imply permittivity.

Special thanks to user Jay for finding the NASA preso.