NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X12.05-9569
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Advanced Life Support: Food Provisioning and Biomass
PROPOSAL TITLE:Transmission and Distribution of Photosymthetically Active Radiation (PAR) for Biomass Production in Exploration Missions [7216-050]

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover ,MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689 - 0003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Takashi   Nakamura
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA  01810 -1077
(925) 743 - 1110

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop a plant lighting system which collects, transmits and distributes photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) for biomass production in planetary and transit missions. In this system, solar light or electric lamp light is collected by reflector optics and focused at the end of an optical fiber cable. The light is filtered by a selective wavelength filter to reject the non-PAR spectra to minimize heat generation within the plant growth chamber. The PAR spectra are transmitted to the plant growth chamber where the light is uniformly distributed over the plant growth area at optimum intensities.

Key features of the proposed system are: (1) the PAR can be transmitted via a flexible optical fiber cable to plants away from the light source; (2) only the PAR will be transmitted to the plant, minimizing the thermal loading in the plant growth chamber, while the non-PAR spectra can be converted to electricity by means of low band-gap PV cells; (3) the low profile light diffuser makes more volume available for plant growth; and (4) the electric light source can be chosen for the best system efficiency and can be placed at the location best suited for thermal control.

The proposed plant lighting system can be used for the plant growth chamber on-board spacecraft such as Mars transit vehicle, or for the plant growth facility of a Lunar or Mars colony. The proposed system will deliver PAR to the plant growth chamber at a high efficiency with little parasitic heating. This system can be combined with both a solar collector system (reducing power demand) and an electric light source (for when sunlight is not available) to maximize system specific productivity (ESM of product divided by plant system ESM).

The proposed plant lighting system can be used for household, commercial, or industrial lighting. In addition, industry and educational institutions that are currently using electric lamps for plant lighting will likely deploy the proposed system. The inherent advantages of this system, e.g., energy efficiency, low plant chamber heating, and compactness of the lighting panel are well suited for such commercial applications.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomass Production and Storage
Biomedical and Life Support

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12