Infinity Fuel Cell Tackles the Final Frontier
On Sept. 12, 2022, Windsor-based fuel cell manufacturer Infinity Fuel Cell & Hydrogen, Inc. took an important step in fuel cell space application.
When the company’s air-independent, non-flow through hydrogen fuel cell—along with dozens of other scientific experiments and cargo—was approved to launch into space aboard an unmanned Blue Origin ship, it presented a great opportunity to test the technology.
Funded through NASA’s Tipping-Point program, the Advanced Modular Power and Energy System that can power landers, rovers, surface equipment, and habitats on the moon or Mars.
It was the first fully integrated H2-O2 fuel cell power system launched aboard a spaceship since the space shuttle, and the first-ever aboard a commercial ship.
The mission was intended to provide proof of concept in an actual space launch mission for technology that Infinity has been developing with NASA for 10 years.
Unfortunately, the flight was cut short.
According to Blue Origin’s mission updates, the capsule escape system successfully separated the capsule from the booster.
While the mission was shorter than expected, Infinity’s technology remained intact throughout, with valuable knowledge gained.
“Despite the anomaly, we are pleased with the initial data and look forward to further analysis,” Infinity founder and CEO Bill Smith said.
Mark Sackler, director of corporate communications at Infinity, said the technology “turned on and it worked despite an anomaly that shortened the mission.”
The launch only scratches the surface of Infinity’s work.
“Connecticut is the home of fuel cell manufacturing for all of North America,” Rich Mullins, Infinity’s director of business development said.
“There isn’t a fuel cell out there that hasn’t been developed first here in Connecticut.”
Smith said the company had typically been doing research, prototypes, and limited manufacturing, but in the past few years, the sector has exploded in popularity.
The company’s efforts include work in space and underwater applications, as well as fuel cells, and hydrogen management.
They are also a founding participant in the Connecticut Hydrogen Fuel Cell Coalition.
“All of these programs have been building on one another,” Smith explained.
“They help to incrementally advance the technology, from the very core of the technology to these advanced prototypes, and now early production systems.
“All of a sudden, what we’re doing is an overnight sensation, although we’ve been doing it for 30 years.”
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