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  • Writer's picturePavels Nazarovs

Per Aspera ad Astra: Nano-Coated Catalyst for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Membranes

Under a program funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), Naco Technologies is setting the stage for a leap in hydrogen fuel cell (FC) technology for space applications and not only. This project will be done in partnership with PowerUP Energy Technologies, an Estonian producer of sustainable energy generators.  Together we are preparing to test and use high-speed magnetron sputtering technology (HMS) in manufacturing catalyst-coated membranes—a key component of hydrogen fuel cells.

The essence of this project is not just to innovate but to redefine efficiency and sustainability in the hydrogen fuel cell domain. By deploying a patented HMS technology, the team aims to refine the catalytic layer of these membranes. This process, known as direct magnetron sputtering, allows for the simultaneous creation and application of the catalytic layer onto proton-exchange membranes (PEM) in a single step. The expected outcomes? A significant boost in the efficiency and durability of PEM FCs and a considerable reduction in production costs.

Within 2 years, starting from a Technology Readiness Level 3, based on initial exploratory tests with proton exchange membranes, the project aims to reach Technology Readiness Level 4 through careful operational validation in laboratory conditions.

But the ambition of Naco Technologies and its partners doesn't stop at technological innovation. The membranes developed through this project are destined for use in the energy systems of spacecrafts and satellites, potentially revolutionizing the way we approach space exploration. The promise of increased longevity and reliability under the harsh conditions of space points towards the possibility of longer, more autonomous missions with reduced energy consumption.

Moreover, the project casts a wider net of impact by aiming to enhance the accessibility and sustainability of green hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. By offering a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, this initiative stands to contribute significantly to climate neutrality and environmental protection efforts.

Upon its successful completion, this project will not only elevate the EU and Latvia's standing in the green energy landscape but will also mark a leap toward innovative, sustainable solutions in the energy and space exploration sectors. With a clear vision and a path charted toward sustainability and efficiency, Naco Technologies is on a journey to reshape the future of energy and space travel, one innovative step at a time.

Disclaimer: The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.



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