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Fuel Cell Power Plants

End-cell heaters on each fuel cell power plant were deleted because of potential electrical failures and replaced with Freon coolant loop passages to maintain uniform temperature throughout the power plants. In addition, the hydrogen pump and water separator of each fuel cell power plant were improved to minimize excessive hydrogen gas entrained in the power plant product water. A current measurement detector was added to monitor the hydrogen pump of each fuel cell power plant and provide an early indication of hydrogen pump overload.

The starting and sustaining heater system for each fuel cell power plant was modified to prevent overheating and loss of heater elements. A stack inlet temperature measurement was added to each fuel cell power plant for full visibility of thermal conditions.

The product water from all three fuel cell power plants flows to a single water relief control panel. The water can be directed from the single panel to the environmental control and life support system's potable water tank A or to the fuel cell power plant water relief nozzle. Normally, the water is directed to water tank A. In the event of a line rupture in the vicinity of the single water relief panel, water could spray on all three water relief panel lines, causing them to freeze and preventing water discharge.

The product water lines from all three fuel cell power plants were modified to incorporate a parallel (redundant) path of product water to ECLSS potable water tank B in the event of a freeze-up in the single water relief panel. If the single water relief panel freezes up, pressure would build up and discharge through the redundant paths to water tank B.

A water purity sensor (pH) was added at the common product water outlet of the water relief panel to provide a redundant measurement of water purity (a single measurement of water purity in each fuel cell power plant was provided previously). If the fuel cell power plant pH sensor failed in the past, the flight crew had to sample the potable water.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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