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Self-Regulating Water Separation System for Fuel Cells
August 2, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented a self-regulated water separator that provides centrifugal separation of fuel cell product water from oxidant gas. The innovation uses the flow energy of the fuel cell's two-phase water and oxidant flow stream, rather than actively controlled electric motors, to augment separation efficiency. Unlike some product water removal systems, the JSC technology does not depend on hydrophobic or hydrophilic surfaces, which are subject to fouling and gradual deterioration in performance. By eliminating the need for specialized surfaces, active control systems, and motor-driven components, the innovators have developed a separator that is simpler and more reliable than similar systems. JSC has received patent number 7,250,075 for this technology.


  • Versatile: Functions in the presence or absence of gravitation and in any orientation in a gravitational field
  • Reliable: Improves system reliability with to self-regulating features
  • Straightforward: Eliminates the needs for active control systems and motor-driven components
  • Clean: Removes fouling effects associated with hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces


  • Spacecraft fuel cell power systems
  • Specialty self-contained remote power systems


Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 7,250,075→) for this technology.

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator