NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 H1.01-8191
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In situ Resource Utilization - Production of Feedstock for Manufacturing and Construction
PROPOSAL TITLE: In-Situ Ethylene and Methane Production from CO2 as Plastic Precursors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Opus 12, Inc.
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #820
Berkeley, CA 94704 - 1517
(917) 349-3740

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Etosha Cave
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #820
Berkeley, CA 94704 - 1517
(281) 235-2314

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kendra Kuhl
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #820
Berkeley, CA 94704 - 1517
(650) 291-5614

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)
Opus 12 has redesigned the cathode of the commercially available PEM water electrolyzer such that it can support the reduction of carbon dioxide into ethylene and/or methane and suppress the competing hydrogen reaction. Methane and ethylene are well known polymer precursors that can be used as starting material to make plastics in extraterrestrial environments. PEM water electrolyzers have already been proven space worthy and are commercially available at various scales. Our innovation enables the creation of polyethylene and other polymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates from the most basic starting materials: CO2, water and electricity. In Phase II, Opus 12 will continue to improve performance of the CO2 conversion process and build a working prototype of ethylene and methane production that will serve as the basis for a future commercial device.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Currently, materials for manufacturing in space have to be shipped from Earth at significant cost. Sending material to Mars costs $20,000 per kilogram, and this cost has poor mass scaling for large payloads, as the amount of fuel required increases exponentially with payload mass. Opus 12 has developed a breakthrough technology that will enable the synthesis of plastics from CO2 and water, which are available in situ in extraterrestrial environments. Our electrochemical device can take water and CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and transform these molecules into polymer precursors (ethylene and/or methane). This opens up a variety of space-based manufacturing applications, including 3D printing to manufacture tools and building materials in space. Producing plastics in space can furnish the building blocks for extraterrestrial built environments and can be a major step in furthering humankind?s ability to explore and survive on Mars and beyond.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Ethylene and methane are two of the most widely available organic compounds. Ethylene has a global market of over $100 billion. Approximately half of all ethylene produced is polymerized to polyethylene. Based on customer interviews, existing producers of ethylene and ethylene-related equipment, e.g., Total Energy, Chart Industries, SABIC, have expressed interest in alternative feedstocks for ethylene production. While the natural gas fracking boom in the U.S. has created a glut of ethane feedstock, in other geographies, the supply of ethane is restricted, and SABIC is seeking new ways to increase its ethylene production at existing facilities. Methane can also be used to produce polymers, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates, which have the added benefit of being biodegradable. Many players see a growing consumer demand for environmentally-friendly plastics, and polymers made from recycled CO2 would be a compelling product to market to consumers.

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)
In Situ Manufacturing

Form Generated on 03-07-17 15:43