NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 H1.01-9317
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Mars Atmosphere Acquisition, Separation, and Conditioning for ISRU
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Capacity Multi-Stage Scroll Compressor for Mars Atmosphere Acquisition

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Air Squared Inc.
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(303) 466-2669

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Wilson
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(303) 466-2669

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Bryce Shaffer
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(513) 238-9778

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Mars Atmosphere Acquisition, Separation, and Conditioning for ISRU 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)
There are several ways to capture and pressurize CO2, including freezing at cryogenic temperatures, mechanical compression, and absorption. Completed studies on each approach, have generally favored cryogenic temperature and mechanical compression solutions. Recently, mechanical compression has gained momentum through the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), which utilizes an Air Squared compressor for mechanical compression of CO2. If this approach is pursued further for a larger system, there are still several questions concerning reliability over 10,000 hours of autonomous operation in Mars environment and scalability. Air Squared plans on addressing these issues as part of Phase I.

Air Squared proposes the development of a Multi-Stage Scroll Compressor (MSSC) that will be configured to support a store-and-utilize strategy (high pressure) or a collection-only strategy (high flow). If a store-and-utilize approach is required, the MSSC will be set up to pressurize the gas over the triple point (>77 PSIA), which provides the ability to liquefy CO2 downstream of the MSSC as it cools, while N2 and Ar remain a gas. If only collection is necessary, the MSSC will be configured to maximize flow at a pressure above 15 PSIA.

There will be two ?types? of MSSCs pursued during the Phase I, an orbiting and spinning MSSC. The orbiting MSSC has the advantage of longer design heritage and lowers associated risk, as this scroll configuration is widely used at Air Squared and the compressor industry as a whole. The spinning MSSC has the advantage of achieving an aggressive size and weight target but has little design heritage.

The orbiting MSSC and spinning MSSC both have substantial advancement over state of the art mechanical compression technologies, such as high-speed turbo-compressors. Size, weight, and power requirements are all reduced. Reliability is also improved, as both MSSCs operate at significantly lower speeds than turbo-compressors.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A key advantage of the proposed technology is scalability. The sizes identified for the MSSC concepts are inside the nominal pressure and flow spectrum for Air Squared scroll compressors and vacuum pumps. After the technology has matured, it can be modified to meet a broad range of size and pressure requirements, supporting additional Mars ISRU applications that require increased flow or pressure capacity.

With NASA identifying Mars as the primary focus for human exploration programs, ISRU is a crucial component in enabling future exploration or even Mars colonization. ISRU includes the production of rocket propellant, oxygen, and other resources harvested from the Martian atmosphere. As the atmospheric pressure of Mars is approximately 1% of Earth's, acquisition and pressurization of the Martian atmosphere will be a critical component of ISRU, as well as applications with demanding size, weight, and power requirements.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Compared to state of the art positive displacement compressors and vacuum pumps, a spinning scroll compressor offers substantially reduced size and weight. Air Squared realized the potential benefit to the aerospace industry while developing a spinning scroll prototype to replace an existing Air Squared compressor used for the potable water system onboard the Airbus A380. While the prototype functionally operated and demonstrated the feasibility of spinning scroll technology, the prototype had reliability issues related to the outer bellows. The proposed spinning scroll MSSC mitigates this, by replacing the bellows with an internal coupling. If successful, the spinning scroll MSSC will provide a pathway for tailoring the technology to the additional compressor and vacuum pump applications in the commercial aerospace industry. Initial efforts will concern replacing existing orbiting scroll products currently used in aerospace applications, with reduced size and weight spinning scroll products. Air Squared will pursue additional applications after establishing flight heritage.

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.)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Pressure & Vacuum Systems

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59