Florida Solar Energy Center Awards Hydrogen Research Contracts

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, awarded $2.78 million in contracts to universities in Florida’s State University System.

Cocoa, Florida – July 9, 2002 [SolarAccess.com.com] Florida International University, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and the University of West Florida will receive grants to conduct hydrogen research for NASA as part of a coordinated, statewide NASA research grant that includes an additional $2.65 million for hydrogen research at FSEC and $2.7 million NASA grant for hydrogen research to the University of Florida. The research will be funded through an initial award of $5.425 million to FSEC’s hydrogen research program from NASA Glenn Research Center. The hydrogen research program was developed to support NASA’s space activities and Kennedy Space Center’s ‘Spaceport of the Future’ plans and is co-managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Kennedy Space Center. FSEC Director Dr. David Block said, “This research grant marks the beginning of a major cooperative research effort between Florida’s state universities in a program to contribute their combined expertise to the benefit of both NASA’s space launch future and Florida’s economy.” Dr. Block also commented, “The solar center has been conducting hydrogen research since the early 1980s, and now we have the opportunity to turn this research into a very significant program activity. Hydrogen is the transportation fuel of the future, and the solar center and the state’s universities are now poised to be world-class leaders in that future.” In addition to the research conducted by its university partners, the Florida Solar Energy Center will research the production of liquid hydrogen and oxygen using fossil and renewable resources; hydrogen storage, recovery and purification using hydride complexes alanates and boranates; development of tribological coatings for the new generation of cryocoolers; and freeze plug/freeze seal technology. FSEC will also conduct hydrogen education and outreach program activities. In 1983, NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) funded the first hydrogen work at FSEC which produced hydrogen using a photovoltaic-powered electrolyzer to split water into its two components – hydrogen and oxygen. FSEC has also been conducting hydrogen research for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop hydrogen as a clean, abundant and, most importantly, locally produced fuel since 1985. The $2.7 million research grant to the University of Florida will support research on safety issues in hydrogen production, storage and transportation; hydrogen storage technologies; solid hydrogen for atomic propellants; remote sensing for hydrogen detection; materials degradation in the hydrogen environment; processes for solar hydrogen production; in-space cryogenic fluid management technologies; and additional education and outreach activities. · Florida International University received $130,000 for research on the local hydrogen production task to assess Florida’s biomass resources for hydrogen production utilizing geographical information system. · Florida Space Institute, an institute of the University of Central Florida, received $200,000 for research on development of optical techniques for detection and imaging of hydrogen leaks as part of the safety and monitoring task. · Florida State University received $750,000 for research on the new propellants and cryofuels and for the in-space cryogenic fluid management technology research tasks. This research will involve densified liquid hydrogen and oxygen: transport properties, density and flow studies of subcooled liquids and solid particles. · University of Central Florida received $750,000 for research involving development of an efficient reverse turbo Brayton cryocooler for storage and transport of hydrogen, a hydrogen gas sensor based on metal/metal oxides employing nanotechnology, cryogenic shape-memory actuator materials, and the evaluation of metals, alloys and quasicrystalline materials for hydrogen storage and recovery. This research will support the safety and monitoring systems, the hydrogen storage and the local hydrogen production tasks. · University of South Florida received $750,000 for research on sensor technology, simulations and design optimization of cryogenic storage systems with zero boiloff, and studies of byproduct hydrogen production and liquefaction. This research supports the safety and monitoring, the local hydrogen production and the in-space cryogenic management tasks. · University of West Florida received $200,000 for research involving process safety and data monitoring using human and machine cognition in support of the safety and monitoring research task.

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