Faculty Advisor

Datta, Ravindra


This report discusses the modeling and preliminary design of a system for the supercritical storage of hydrogen and oxygen for mobile fuel cell space applications, including rovers, spacesuits, and construction equipment. This system must operate on both low and zero gravity space missions requiring all reactant storage to be as a single phase to avoid sloshing while maintaining high storage efficiency. The purpose of this study is to develop a tank design for both fuel cell reactants, quantify heat duties throughout preparation and operation, and determine the optimal storage conditions. In addition, a preliminary schematic and control system for the system is developed based on the theoretical model. This study confirms that such a system is indeed plausible and could conceivably power the next generation of Lunar and Martian exploration. It was determined that the heat duties required to maintain the supercritical system are manageable, meaning the system is entirely feasible. Additionally, the system can be designed safely and efficiently within the stringent mass and volume constraints.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2006


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering