NASA SBIR 00-II Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08.01-8973 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 001028 )
PROPOSAL TITLE: Methane to Aromatics on Mars

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The Methane to Aromatics on Mars (METAMARS) project will design and build a machine for converting methane produced by the Sabatier reaction into a low hydrogen content, low vapor pressure, high density, aromatic fuel. Its primary advantage is a factor of four reduction of hydrogen feedstock importation requirements for production of rocket fuel compared to the standard S/E process for an equivalent mass of fuel. In addition, since all oxygen produced by the Sabatier system comes from the carbon dioxide feed, by reducing the hydrogen in the fuel the METAMARS process will simultaneously improve the stoichiometry of the fuel/oxidizer combination and will reduce the power required by the process. The benzene fuel is also considerably denser than methane fuel. A final advantage of the METAMARS process is that it operates at low pressure, in contrast to synthesis reactions for other higher hydrocarbons. These advantages make the METAMARS process a prime technology to improve the applicability of the Sabatier process for small scale unmanned Mars missions, such as the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, as well as a key technology for manned Mars missions.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The METAMARS process concept has three markets that will be addressed during the commercialization portion of the Phase II program. First, the integrated METAMARS/Sabatier production system has an important application on Mars to generate a high-quality, storable fuel (benzene) as well as oxygen from in-situ resources with very high leverage of the hydrogen delivered from Earth. Second, the METAMARS natural gas-to-benzene concept has a strong potential for recovering the enormous energy value associated with remote natural gas resources that are currently unrecoverable or wasted due to the inability to economically store and transport natural gas to market. Conversion of natural gas to benzene will facilitate the utilization of this currently unutilized or wasted resource. Third, significant potential improvements in terrestrial benzene production methods and economics will result from the catalyst and process improvements generated from the Phase II program. The hydrogen byproduct generated from the latter two concepts provides significant additional economic support to the commercialization effort.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Tony Muscatello
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516


Form Printed on 11-26-01 17:18