HOT Then, HOTTER Now – Power, Fuel Cells And High-Temperature Research

by David Jenyns on March 2, 2009

The space program, said Ralph J. Cordiner, Chairman of General Electric, in The Space Frontier, “will also help to accelerate the development of new or unusual power sources, such as the fuel cell, thermionic converters, magneto hydrodynamics and vastly improved nuclear power sources.”

The search for new sources of power is essentially the problem of “more power per pound of package.” In fuel cells, analysts see uncertain future markets, though with almost unlimited potential. As important as the search for new power sources is the hunt for new high-temperature materials to be increasingly used in America’s stepped up manned space programs.

An estimated 30,000 scientists in the United States are working on problems connected with extremely high temperatures. While many large companies are doing important work in high temperature research, speculative opportunities exist in small outfits such as Ilikon which are concentrating in this area for maximum exposure to the special high-temperature technology.

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