NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H10.01-8880
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Purge Gas Recovery and Reclamation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Integrated Stack and Advanced MEAs for High-Yield, Long-Life Helium Reclamation System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1902 Pinon, Suite B
College Station, TX 77845 - 5816
(979) 635-4706

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Daniel Westerheim
1902 Pinon, Ste B
College Station, TX 77845 - 5816
(979) 635-4706

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Daniel Westerheim
1902 Pinon, Ste B
College Station, TX 77845 - 5816
(979) 635-4706

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Cryogenic Purge Gas Recovery and Reclamation 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)
Gaseous helium reclamation is critical in reducing operating costs at rocket engine test facilities. Increases in cost and potential shortages of helium will dramatically impact testing of rocket engines for launch vehicles and space propulsion systems as the global supply of this non-renewable element diminishes. Sierra Lobo (SLI) has developed an advanced electrochemical Helium Recovery System (HRS), but has identified membrane longevity as a key limitation in the commercialization and deployment of the technology. FuelCellsEtc has teamed with SLI to address these issues. FCE will use their extensive technical expertise in Membrane Electrode Assembly design and manufacturing as well as stack hardware design to address the two primary limitations to the existing HRS technology: Longevity and Throughput. The Phase I effort will identify, test and verify an Advanced MEA based on the particular operating parameters of the HRS. In addition, preliminary stack designs will be initiated which will increase the throughput capability of the HRS by an estimated 10x. These improvements will increase the TRL from 4 to 5 in Phase I and from 5 to 7/8 by the end of Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Extremely large quantities of helium are being used during rocket engine testing each year at various test facilities. It is critical for program successes to minimize developmental and testing costs by reclaiming helium utilized in those programs, and equally important to preserve this rare element for future generations. Given the continued decrease in the world's supply of helium, NASA is heading to an economic, operational, and programmatic disaster. New and highly innovative approaches are required to drive down launch operations' life cycle costs. Scaling-up of existing systems to meet an increased demand of helium is not an option. With the proposed advanced membranes and stack configuration, FCE in collaboration with SLI and HNEI will significantly improve the current technical approach to recover vented GHe at a cost reduction factor of 100 as compared to current helium market price. Launch and test facilities at the following locations will be approached: Stennis Space Center (SSC), Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC), NASA - RS-25 engine

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Using PEM electrochemical cells to purify helium will directly benefit other government agencies and private company space missions. The success of the proposed technology will be implemented at launch pads and test facilities, which will result in saving millions of dollars in cost of helium while lowering costs in launch services and in operation. The non-NASA government agencies that will benefit from the technology application are the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD). Private companies that will benefit from the technology application are major launch providers and vehicle developers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, ATK, and Aerojet. Potential applications for Non-NASA commercial applications are at the following facilities:
Orbital Sciences Corp - Taurus II First Stage - Dual Aerojet AJ26-62 engines
United Launch Alliance - Atlas V – Main Engine: RD AMROSS engine RD-180, Second Stage: Aeroject RL10A Engine
United Launch Alliance - Delta IV – Main Engine: Aeroject RS-68 Engine, Second Stage: Aerojet RL10B-2 Engine
SpaceX Falcon 1 – Second Stage: Kestrel Engine
Aerojet – RL10, RS-68, RS-25 test stands

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.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Pressure & Vacuum Systems

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37