NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X3.01-9786
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Process Technologies for Life Support System Loop Closure
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Air Evaporation System with Reusable Wicks for Water Recovery

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: 1
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A microgravity-compatible Advanced Air Evaporation System (AAES) is proposed for recovering nearly 100% of water from highly contaminated wastewater without concern for precipitation of organic and inorganic solids. The AAES incorporates reusable wicks, and heat exchange and thermoelectric heat pump technologies which reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) by lowering consumable supplies and energy use when compared to previous air evaporation system designs. AAES will help meet the challenge of improving water loop closure in future water recycling systems as missions venture beyond Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), where higher fractional recovery of water from wastewater resources is needed. Highly contaminated wastewater streams such as urine, hygiene water, and RO brines are major wastewater resource streams for the AAES. The Phase I project will focus on development and characterization of reusable wicks. The Phase II will incorporate heat exchange and thermoelectric heat pump technology into a working prototype whose performance will be thoroughly characterized and delivered to NASA for independent testing. These efforts will increase water recovery, reduce logistics, increase reliability, and lower ESM for water recycling during future space missions beyond LEO.

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, and low-maintenance water reclamation systems will play a critical role in reducing ECLSS logistics. The Advanced Air Evaporation System (AAES) technology provides a simple, microgravity compatible method to recover water from highly contaminated wastewater and brines without concern for organic and inorganic solids. The use of reusable wicks, heat exchangers, and an efficient thermoelectric heat pump will lower the ESM for this technology compared to previous air evaporation technologies. Such a water recovery system will be purchased as Flight Hardware by NASA, or by an aerospace contracting firm on behalf of NASA, resulting in enhanced capability in support of manned missions beyond LEO, where minimization of expendables, reliability, and simple operation are highly valued.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
With respect to non-governmental commercial applications, this specialized, innovative technology cannot compete effectively against large-scale distillation or reverse osmosis based desalination processes. However, the AAES technology is ideal for smaller scale or specialty applications, due to its simplicity, small size, and ability to rapidly produce pure water and concentrate salts. These applications include routine or emergency water production and reduction of wastewater disposal volumes aboard ships, at industrial sites, or where nuclear wastes require concentration and confinement. Other potential commercial applications include the recovery of valuable salts from concentrated solutions where relatively low temperature recovery is required, or the de-watering of highly hazardous slurries prior to disposal, to minimize volume.

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