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ISRO’s Successful Test of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell on POEM3

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • ISRO successfully tested a 100 W Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Power System (FCPS) on the orbital platform POEM3, launched aboard PSLV-C58 on January 1, 2024.

More about the news

  • Its objective is to evaluate Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM FC) functionality in space and gather data for designing systems for future missions.
  • During a brief test on POEM, the system generated 180 W of power using hydrogen and oxygen gases stored in high-pressure vessels.
  • Offered extensive data on the performance of static and dynamic systems within the power system, providing insights into the underlying physics.
  • With India proposing a space station by 2035, the Fuel Cell Power System (FCPS) payload could find applications in this ambitious space project.


About Hydrogen Fuel Cells

·       Generate electricity directly from hydrogen and oxygen gases, producing pure water and heat as byproducts.

·       Operate on electrochemical principles, akin to batteries, as opposed to combustion reactions in conventional generators.


   About Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM FC)

  • Also known as proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
  • Utilize a proton-conducting polymer membrane as the electrolyte, typically using hydrogen as fuel.
  • Operates at relatively low temperatures and can quickly vary output to meet changing power demands.
  • Mainly developed for transport applications and also explored for stationary and portable fuel-cell applications.

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