NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 H1.01-8046
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In situ Resource Utilization - Production of Feedstock for Manufacturing and Construction
PROPOSAL TITLE: Polyethylene Production from In-Situ Resources in Microchannel Reactors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TDA Research, Inc.
12345 West 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 422-7819

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Gokhan Alptekin Ph.D.
12345 West 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 940-2349

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. John D. Wright
12345 West 52nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 940-2300

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In situ Resource Utilization - Production of Feedstock for Manufacturing and Construction 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)
According to NASA, it costs $10,000 to move a pound of material from earth into orbit, and 10 to 40 times more to movie to the Moon and Mars. Instead of paying to move each spare part, structure support, radiation shield and utensil (along with a wide range of other products) from Earth to Mars extraterrestrial in-situ resources (sunlight, CO2 and H2O) can be converted into polyethylene. A wide range of products including water bottles, thin films, bags, high pressure pipe and at almost any shape could be produced using additive manufacturing. Polyethylene is also a candidate for radiation shielding due to its high hydrogen content.

TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) proposes to develop a plastics manufacturing plant via in situ resource utilization. The plant consists of (1) a solar powered gas generation system to produce CO and H2 from indigenous CO2 and H2O, (2) a micro-channel olefin synthesis reactor that converts the synthesis gas (CO and H2) to light olefins, (3) a polyethylene synthesis reactor, (4) a reformer for processing unreacted gases and by-products back into more synthesis gas feedstock.

In Phase I, we will focus on demonstrating the viability of two of the key sub-systems: (1) testing a proprietary TDA catalyst in a micro-channel syngas-to-olefins reactor at small scale, and (2) refining a small scale polyethylene synthesis system that converts the range of products from the olefin synthesis process into polyethylene and other co-polymers. We will design a 5 kg/day polyethylene production plant, using lab data and performance specifications provided for existing systems such as the electro-chemical CO2 reduction to CO, hydrolysis for conversion of H2O to H2, and reformer technology for converting unreacted gases back to synthesis gas. Phase I will produce a detailed design of this system, including an estimate of the weight and volume.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The mechanical properties of the polyethylene can be tuned by selecting the catalyst and process conditions to provide feedstocks suitable for a wide variety of products via additive manufacturing, including radiation shielding, structures for habitat or infrastructure, thin films, tubing, fittings, housewares and many others. Since polyethylene is a thermoplastic, scraps and pieces at the end of their lifecycle can be shredded and re-melted for reuse in the additive manufacturing equipment. Using in situ resources to make these plastics products will significantly reduce the launch weight and cost for missions to the Moon and planets.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed synthesis gas-to-olefins process will find immediate industrial use. Polyethylene is one of the most produced chemicals with single plant producing as much as 2 billion pounds/year. The production of ethylene, which is the feedstock to these plants, from synthesis gas rather than naphtha or ethane cracking provides a cost-effective alternative (i.e., the synthesis gas can be generated by well-established natural gas reforming), allowing low cost abundant domestic natural gas to be used as a feedstock to a value added chemical.

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.)
In Situ Manufacturing
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14