NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 09.04-7770A

PROJECT TITLE: Biomass Slurry Production

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The inedible portion of plant biomass (i.e., hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin) in closed regenerative life support systems must be reprocessed. Umpqua Research Company’s original NASA SBIR Phase I experimental efforts have demonstrated pumpable high solids biomass slurries of up to 27 wt%. The proposed Phase I effort significantly differs from the previously funded Phase I effort as this is an advanced equipment application which will be explored to continuously produce hydrolyzed biomass slurries. The primary advantage of an acid hydrolysis process is the substantially improved ease of pumping with either progressive cavity or piston pumps. For this advanced applications program, it is proposed to develop a continuous combined process for the simultaneous acid hydrolysis and pumping of wheat, potato, tomato, and soybean crop residues. This effort will provide the operating demonstration of a continuous combined acid hydrolysis pretreatment and pump system (e.g., extruder) where acid hydrolysis occurs within the pumping system itself. The principal advantage of the proposed technology is that a high solids slurry can be pumped directly into a high or low pressure reactor for further processing. Biomass slurries will be produced in barrel quantities and made available for future testing by NASA, academic institutions, or industry.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

The primary commercial application by the Federal Government will be for the pretreatment of inedible crop biomass in reclamation systems supporting long duration space missions such as a Lunar base, or a Mars mission. The proposed research will result in the development of a compact and reliable biomass pretreatment/pumping system for biomass reprocessing that can be operated in terrestrial, hypogravity, and microgravity environments.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Carlos Figueroa, P.E.
Umpqua Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek , OR 97457

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Umpqua Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek , OR 97457