NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 X8.03-8499
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Nuclear Surface Power
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Efficiency, High Temperature Foam Core Heat Exchanger for Fission Surface Power Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
12173 Montague Street
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Brian E. Williams
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Fission-based power systems are anticipated for various planetary surface human base applications with power levels of 30–100+ kWe. The development of high temperature, high efficiency heat exchangers, turbines, and pumps is critical for next-generation nuclear power and space propulsion systems. High temperature heat exchangers are required for nuclear reactors to operate above 1000 K and take advantage of improved Brayton cycle efficiency at high inlet temperatures. In previous work for the Department of Energy involving fusion reactor components, Ultramet demonstrated the capability of an innovative heat exchanger composed of a highly porous, open-cell refractory metal foam coolant channel enclosed within a solid refractory metal shell of the same material. High heat flux testing with helium coolant was performed at the Sandia National Laboratories Plasma Materials Test Facility. A component survived heat flux levels up to 22.36 MW/m2 (2236 W/cm2). The turbulence created by flowing helium coolant through highly porous open-cell foam dramatically increased heat transfer relative to a conventional open coolant channel. Foam core heat exchanger technology is anticipated to substantially improve power conversion efficiency of liquid metal-to-gas, high temperature heat exchangers for fission surface power systems. Ultramet proposes to team with Sandia to design a component and demonstrate initial feasibility.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Lunar bases and colonies would be strategic assets for effective utilization of abundant lunar resources and development and testing of space technologies required for further exploration and colonization of favorable places in the solar system. A reliable power system is required to supply energy demands for life support, science, and operation. The proposed fission power system has the potential to provide the necessary high power conversion to meet surface power requirements.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to compact, high efficiency space reactors, the proposed technology could contribute to a new Department of Energy Generation IV power system that significantly lowers cost, improves passive safety, has no carbon dioxide emissions, uses an advanced, proliferation-resistant fuel cycle, and reduces nuclear waste. The foam core heat exchanger technology could also be used in ground-based power or in portable power systems for military or surveillance applications and remote deployment.

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.

Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Nuclear Conversion

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50