NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 H2.01-8810
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Small Scroll Pump for Cryogenic Liquids

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Air Squared Inc.
3001 Industrial Ln. #3
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 7153
(513) 238-9778

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Bryce R Shaffer
3001 Industrial Ln. #3
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 7153
(513) 238-9778

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert Shaffer
3001 Industrial Ln. #3
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 7153
(513) 200-3787

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The innovation is a compact, reliable, light weight, electrically driven pump capable of pumping cryogenic liquids, based on scroll pump technology. This pump will fulfill several needs stated in SBIR Research Topic, H2.01: Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies. Zero gravity cryogenic control devices (spray bars and mixers), require cryogenic liquids to be pumped efficiently. Propellant conditioning and densification technologies require compact, efficient pumps. Broad area cooling of cryopropellant shields can be facilitated by the pumping of a cold gas such as helium in a loop from a cryocooler to a shield. Various methods of liquefaction of oxygen such as passive radiative cooling can be enabled by cryogenic pumping. Other aerospace applications such as a fuel pump for liquid hydrogen fueled aircraft. A compact, reliable, and light weight pump for cryogenic liquids currently does not exist. Our subcontractor, Ball Aerospace and Technologies, has identified the need for such a pump several years ago, but has not found a suitable available product.

Scroll pumps have several advantages over other pump technology, including being compact, light weight, reliable and efficient. The pump can be hermetically isolated from the drive motor by the use of a magnetic coupler, allowing the pump to be hermetically sealed. Because of the orbital motion, the scrolls can be placed in a metal bellows that are sealed to the housing which isolates the liquid via a vacuum enclosure for thermal isolation. The bearings can be placed on thermally isolating arms, so they do not need to operate at cryogenic temperatures.

Scroll pumps have considerable technical heritage relevant to this application. Air Squared has developed and successfully tested scroll pumps for liquids and for cryogenic gasses. Air Squared has developed several compact pumps for pumping air which has similar viscosity and compressibility to liquid hydrogen.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Launch Vehicle – Load Responsive Multi-Layer Insulation (LV-LRMLI) could provide a high performance thermal insulation for Launch Vehicles with an integrated lightweight vacuum shell, able to withstand aerodynamic forces during launch, and substantially reducing cryopropellant boil-off. LV-LRMLI could provide benefit to NASA with increased launch vehicle mission capabilities such as longer duration cryogenic powered missions, longer coast times for orbital transitions, higher payload capacity to GSO, enhancements to the workhorse Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicle families, applicability to upcoming cryogenic upper stage designs such as Advanced Common Evolved Stage and Space Launch System.

A small, cryogenic scroll pump would have several NASA cryopropellant applications. It would enable efficient, low boil off or zero boil off cryogenic systems by circulating cryogenic helium gas from a cryocooler to broad area thermal shields surrounding the tanks. This would eliminate the need for high efficiency heat exchangers that are required with ambient temperature circulator pumps.

The pump would also enable thermodynamic vent systems in which cryopropellants are dropped in pressure and temperature and heat exchanged with liquid pumped in a circulation loop with the tank. NASA Marshall has done considerable work with such systems involving spray bar tank heat exchanger and destratifiers.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is currently developing an integrated fluid system (IVF) to recover and use boil off hydrogen and oxygen from its Centaur upper launch vehicle. An enabling component of this system would be a positive displacement cryogenic pump. The cold propellant gases would be pumped to a pressure of approximately 200 PSI and stored in tanks for use as reaction control system fuel or tank pressurization. The small size and pressure capability of the scroll pump would be well suited for this application.

A strong demand exists for small cryogenic pumps for use in liquid hydrogen fueled aircraft. The Boeing Company and AeroViroment, Inc. have developed and flown hydrogen fueled, unmanned aircraft as reconnaissance platforms. Typically, these aircraft fuel systems require the hydrogen to be delivered at a pressure of 90 PSIG, currently this done by making the operating pressure of the tanks at minimum of 90 PSIG. This results in tanks that can operate with a safety margin above this pressure. If the tanks could operate at a lower pressure, such as 30 PSIG, the tank walls could be thinner and lighter. The estimated weight savings of a pumped system for the Boeing Phantom Eye hydrogen fueled aircraft is over 400 pounds per aircraft. The scroll pump would be an important discriminator in aircraft performance.

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.)
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Pressure & Vacuum Systems

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