NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-F3.02-8982 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034023)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Spaceport Cryogenic Fluids Handling and Storage Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE:Cryogenic Cooling System for Zero-Venting Storage of Supercritical Air Packs

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Creare Inc
P.O. Box 71, 16 Great Hollow Road
Hanover ,NH 03755 - 0071
(603) 643 - 3800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael G. Izenson
P.O. Box 71, 16 Great Hollow Road
Hanover ,NH  03755 -0071
(603) 643 - 3800
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

Supercritical air at cryogenic temperature is an attractive source of breathing air because of its very high density and low pressure. However, heat leak into the cryogenic tank causes the stored air to expand and vent, thus limiting the storage life of a charged system. We propose to develop a storage system for supercritical air tanks that provides cryogenic cooling that will intercept heat leaks to prevent venting and enable long-term storage of charged, supercritical air tanks. The innovative, mechanical cryocooling system provides flexible coupling and quick disconnection from the storage tanks, as well as high reliability and efficient, low-power operation. In addition to storage, the system can be used to charge the tanks with supercritical air without the use of expendable cryogens. In Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of the system through design trade-off and optimization analyses that will produce a conceptual design and operational description of a supercritical air storage system. The system will be designed to store multiple units of NASA?s existing supercritical air self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) system. In Phase II, we will build and demonstrate a prototype storage system for supercritical air SCBAs.

NASA plans to use a supercritical air mobility pack (SCAMPTM) for fire rescue from the Space Shuttle launch pad. The SCAMP SCBA overcomes many of the limitations of current liquid air systems, but the cryogenic tanks still need to be recharged frequently. The cryogenic cooling system will enable storage for long periods with zero venting. The system will be very flexible and allow rescue personnel to rapidly disconnect and don the tanks. The light weight, compact size, high reliability, and high efficiency of our mechanical cooling system will make it ideal for supercritical air storage for future extraterrestrial bases.

By enabling long-term storage of fully-charged SCBAs with zero venting, our cryogenic cooling system will enable the use of supercritical air SCBA for a wide variety of terrestrial applications. Supercritical air makes an ideal breathing air supply for terrestrial self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) because it can be stored at low pressure in a lightweight system, it operates independently of orientation, the quantity is easily gauged, and the system provides body cooling. The commercial market for these systems includes firefighters, first responders, search-and-rescue personnel, and HAZMAT teams.