NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 09.04-9806

PROJECT TITLE: Pyrolysis Processing for Solid Waste Resource Recovery in Space

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The NASA objective of expanding the human experience into the far reaches of space will require the development of regenerable life support systems. A key element of these systems is a means for solid waste resource recovery. The technology being addressed in this proposal is the use of pyrolysis processing for solid waste recovery, a technique that has been extensively studied at Advanced Fuel Research, Inc. (AFR) and Brown University, a subcontractor. The objective of the Phase I program is to demonstrate the feasibility of pyrolysis processing as the primary method for the conversion of solid waste materials in space. This work would be accomplished in five tasks in Phase I: 1) specification and characterization of a model waste stream; 2) design and construction of a pyrolysis reactor system; 3) pyrolysis reactor testing for data collection and analysis; 4) characterization of solid residues; 5) Phase II prototype design. Under Phase II, a prototype waste pyrolysis system would be developed and delivered to NASA. This program will demonstrate that pyrolysis processing meets the requirements of solid waste resource recovery in space, i.e., it produces usable byproducts, with minimal side products, can be tailored to meet changes in the feedstock composition and the product requirements, significantly reduces storage volume, requires low maintenance, and is compatible with the utilities that are present on board a spacecraft (electricity and small amounts of O2 and H2O).

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

In the near term, the technology would have applications to solid waste resource recovery problems in remote areas such as underdeveloped countries, oil production platforms, submarines, ships, military operations, etc., analogous to the uses for NASA technology developed for water purification. In the long term, the technology could be integrated with fuel cells and have widespread business or residential use for solid waste removal and resource recovery.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Yonggang Chen
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford , CT 06108-3742

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford , CT 06108-3742