NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 S1.08-9542
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Airborne, Surface, and Submersible Instruments for Earth Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Self-Calibrating Greenhouse Gas Balloon-Borne Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 984-1322

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joel Silver
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 505-1322

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Understanding the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has been recognized as critical to predicting climate change and global warming. A variety of research studies funded by DOE, NSF, NASA and NOAA to measure the fluxes and fluctuations of CO2 profiles throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere have provided a great deal of useful information, but the instrumentation used has been restricted to airplane or large stratospheric-type balloon gondola platforms where a few measurements are very expensive. We propose a new approach where low cost, extensive measurement campaigns can be made using standard meteorological balloons.

In this SBIR program, Southwest Sciences is developing a lightweight, inexpensive greenhouse gas sensor suitable for balloon sonde measurements, Using a novel measurement technique, this sensor will provide dry air mixing ratios of CO2 without the need for concurrent measurements of temperature, pressure or moisture. The Phase 1 research successfully demonstrated the viability of this approach and in Phase 2, a prototype sensor will be built and field tested in a series of balloon-sonde flights.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Our sensor can be used on UAV, balloon, and aircraft platforms. A goal of NASA's Office of Science is to use satellite data and suborbital platforms to understand weather and climate of the Earth. Suborbital field campaigns composed of balloons, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles identify processes, validate satellite data, and eventually create parameterizations that allow full use of satellite data. Measurements of the precise variations of carbon dioxide as a function of altitude have been tremendously difficult, and this sensor will allow more widespread measurements than currently possible.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to NASA atmospheric research programs, a large network of academic researchers would also be interested in our sensor. Beyond the atmospheric science community, high precision gas measurements are needed in industrial applications. The proposed method will allow for non-intrusive measurements of fluids in fast flows in pipelines, chambers, and smokestacks. Such measurements are critically needed when caustic gases are used or when an integrated measurement is needed without disturbing laminar flow. Applications in petrochemical, semiconductor, and aviation industries are numerous.

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.

Testing Facilities

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26