NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X3.01-9783
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Process Technologies for Life Support System Loop Closure
PROPOSAL TITLE: Regenerative Bosch Reactor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
UMPQUA Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-7770

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James R. Akse, Ph.D.
PO Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-2653

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Oxygen (O2) contained within waste carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital resource during long-duration, manned missions that must be reclaimed by Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) hardware. Current CO2 reduction technology to recapture oxygen as water utilizes the Sabatier reaction, in which, two moles of water and one mole of methane are produced for each mole of CO2 reduced. Unfortunately, only half of the hydrogen consumed in the reaction can be recovered by water electrolysis. In contrast, the Bosch reaction produces water and elemental carbon, recovering all hydrogen consumed and closing the O2 - CO2 reduction loop. Previous experience has shown the primary problem with the Bosch reaction is carbon production, which deactivates the catalyst and eventually plugs the reactor. An innovative Regenerative Bosch Reactor (RBR) is proposed to overcome this problem, in which, a bed of small spherical ferromagnetic catalyst beads is periodically agitated using mechanical or magnetic forces to abrade carbon from the catalyst surface. Carbon is expelled from the RBR by the gas stream and collected downstream. The Phase I project will demonstrate catalyst regeneration. A prototype RBR will be designed, assembled, and thoroughly tested during the Phase II program providing NASA with a test bed for independent evaluation. The RBR will improve atmosphere loop closure and lower the ESM for CO2 reduction by recovering all of the hydrogen reductant.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The NASA application for this technology will be as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of future, long duration exploration objectives beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where efficient, reliable, low ESM atmospheric revitalization to reduce logistics burden for ECLSS hardware. The Regenerative Bosch Reactor (RBR) technology provides a simple, microgravity compatible method to continuously recover oxygen from carbon dioxide without the loss of the hydrogen reductant or degradation of process efficiency. The complete recovery of hydrogen will lower the ESM for this technology compared to Sabatier reaction based methods. Moreover, long-term Bosch reactor operation with the concomitant lowering of hydrogen resupply penalties will favor this approach in future atmospheric revitalization systems used aboard spacecraft and within extraterrestrial habitats.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are two major areas for commercial application of the RBR technology. The first area concerns the mitigation of carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. In this case, industrial processes can be retrofitted with a RBR system that converts carbon dioxide to a collectable solid, carbon, and a harmless gas, water vapor. The second commercialization area concerns reactor technology, and in particular, applications where catalyst fouling by reaction byproducts are a significant concern. As such, the RBR design can be modified to accommodate a variety of catalysts used in a variety of reactions and reactors.

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)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12