NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X3.01-8989
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Process Technologies for Life Support System Loop Closure
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Variable-Output Bio-Electrochemical System for Wastewater Treatment and Increased Loop Closure in Exploration Life Support Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Intact Labs
21 South Street
Somerville, MA 02143 - 4213
(617) 307-1755

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Matthew Silver
21 South Street
Somerville, MA 02143 - 4213
(617) 307-1755

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In this project IntAct Labs proposes to develop a novel system to increase loop closure for water treatment in regenerative life support using bio-electrochemical processes (BEC processes). One of the limiting factors in space exploration, particularly outside of low earth orbit (LEO), involves the power draw and significant mass in oxygen, water and other supplies needed for life support. Bio-electrochemical systems (BECs) are a class of technologies capable of treating water while generating electricity or other value-added products such as methane and hydrogen. In this particular project IntAct Labs proposes a variable-output BEC cell that switch between cathode reactions, generating water, hydrogen, or CO2 reduction to water and methane, depending on the operation. A properly designed cell might thus switch between cathodic outputs based on day-to-day exploration needs, while continuously treating BOD at a bio-anode at ambient temperature and pressure. During Phase I IntAct Labs will construct a variable output BEC cell, demonstrate simultaneous BOD treatment and value-added product generation with ersatz exploration wastewater streams, and conduct preliminary systems analyses to determine the relative benefit in mass and power associated with operating the system with each output at two unique process points in the ISS Water Recovery System. Based on these experimental and simulation studies, Phase II R&D will focus on one, two, or all three operating modes. Through Phase II and Phase III R&D we hope to develop and test a system for potential utilization aboard the ISS or related crewed systems.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development of a mobile, variable output BEC system for wastewater treatment provides a range of potential commercialization options for IntAct Labs. First, successful Phase I and Phase II R&D could lead to a larger research program funding by NASA and/or other space agencies, constituting an important source of income for an R&D company like IntAct Labs. Second, the concept is being provisionally patented and the research will result in intellectual property and know-how which could be spun-off or acquired by larger firms seeking to develop the next generation life support systems for NASA such as Lockheed Martin or Hamilton Sundstrand.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed system might also find use in other mobile water treatment applications. In particular the military may find the flexibility of the proposed system useful for treating water at mobile bases, such as forward operating bases. The system might prove useful for wastewater treatment for humanitarian applications such as disaster relief or developing world infrastructure. These and other options with be thoroughly investigated and pursued during Phase I and Phase II R&D.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Waste Storage/Treatment

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12