NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 17-2 Z10.02-9316
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Methane In-Space Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Spinning-Scroll Pump for Cryogenic Feed System

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

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Bryce Shaffer
510 Burbank Street
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(513) 238-9778

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rob Shaffer
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(513) 200-3787

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Methane In-Space Propulsion 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 proposed innovation is the world's first cryogenic spinning scroll pump (CSSP) capable of pumping liquid methane or oxygen at flows of 8-10 lbm/s. The primary goal is to develop a versatile proof of concept CSSP, capable of pumping liquid or two-phase methane or oxygen at a wide range of speeds (i.e. 1,000-8,000 RPM) and a wide range of differential pressures while maintaining high-reliability and a compact size. The pump will be configurable, to allow multiple pumps to be placed in series for high-pressure multi-stage operation. During Phase I, Air Squared successfully designed, fabricated and tested a prototype CSSP on liquid nitrogen.

For Cryogenic pumping, state of the art (SOA), consists of two vastly different technology options. Centrifugal turbopumps and positive displacement pumps. Turbopumps utilize an impeller-inducer combination that relies on high impeller speeds to create a differential pressure. While the high-speed operation makes turbopumps compact, it also limits bearing life, differential pressure, and they can't handle two-phase flow. Positive displacement pumps can handle larger pressure differentials and don't have issues with two-phase flow. However, they can't achieve speeds over 3,000 RPM without bulky and high-load bearings making them less desirable for aerospace applications.

The CSSP offers the best of both options. As a positive displacement pump, it can achieve high-pressures with minimal reduction in flow and pump saturated liquids at low net-positive suction heads. Due to the spinning motion of the pump, various centrifugal loads are eliminated allowing speeds over 8,000 RPM possible and making the design compact and lightweight. Additionally, the spinning motion of the scrolls eliminates the need for a counterbalance common in orbiting scroll designs. This further reduces weight by eliminating counterweights and eases bearing loads. Air Squared believes the proposed CSSP is a perfect fit in support of Methane In-space Propulsion.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The CSSP delivers improved flow, pressure and two-phase flow capability of cryogenic pumping to achieve NASA�s goal of methane in space propulsion for scalably sized spacecraft. A single or linked CSSP could be integrated into satellites or a spacecraft�s reaction control system to increase fuel flow rates and pressure providing better flexibility and dexterity during docking and landing. RES systems allow for altitude, translation, and rotational control and the CSSP would allow such systems to be integrated on to potentially larger or smaller modules. The CSSP minimizes space and weight needs while significantly improving fuel flow rate and pressure, allowing better engineering optimization for NASA modular spacecraft.

The CSSP enables efficient, low 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 cryo propellants are dropped in pressure and temperature and heat exchanged with liquid pumped in a circulation loop within the tank. The development of a long life, variable speed, and low leakage pump would add flexibility to NASA satellite and surface to space spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Hydrogen has been identified as a potentially game-changing fuel by the aerospace industry, however, the necessary heavy cryogenic fuel tanks and low-pressure pumps have handicapped successful research and development. Integration of CSSP in hydrogen aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles would improve fuel delivery, reduce fuel tank size, and become a critical component of lightweight aircraft. The estimated weight savings of the proposed pump is over 400 pounds per aircraft. The scroll pump would be a significant contributor to increased aircraft endurance and payload. Several aerospace leaders, including Boeing and AeroViromnet, already partner with Air Squared and demonstrate a niche market for the CSSP for next-generation aircraft with both the Department of Defense and commercial research and development.

Another commercial application would be a liquid natural gas pump, for LNG rail transport. SOA offers only limited options for positive displacement LNG pumps of which the CSSP two-phase fuel delivery and variable pressure operations could be disruptive. Progress Rail has already contacted Air Squared about using a positive displacement LNG scroll pump for locomotive transportation and has invested in an Air Squared�s orbiting scroll type LNG pump prototype. The greater reliability and flexible scaling of the CSSP holds vast potential in the next generation cryogenic fuel economy.

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

Form Generated on 04-26-18 12:25