NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER 99-1 09.04-5000 (Chron: 991776 )


Hydrogen Magnetic Liquifier (HML)


Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) and Astronautics Corporation of America (ACA) have teamed to propose the development of a hydrogen mangnetic liquifier that is highly efficient and cost effective for hydrogen operations at NASA/Kennedy Space Center. The innovation rests on magnetic refrigeration technology that has been evolving at ACA. A previous design for a large HML will be improved to make it cost-competitive in logistics operations at KSC. Improvements to the current technology are proposed. Phase I would involve definition of systems requirements, configuration modeling of small and large HML systems, and performance of a cost-benefit study. This proposal satisfies the need for improvement in ground-test operation and cost effectiveness through liquid hydrogen boil-off recovery or utilization systems. It is known that if the life cycle cost of the HML operation is less than the continued boil-off of the lowest cost hydrogen in the world, then the project should proceed through to demonstration and verification.


The results of this project can be applied to a wide variety of terrestrial applications. If technical and economical feasibility can be established for HML operation at NASA Kennedy Space Center, it can be applied to other NASA centers, laboratories, and industrial users of hydrogen. The results of Phase I will establish the economic payback time for the HML system. It will also determine the limits on size and capacity to ensure economic advantage of HML. The HML technology can also be applied to near-room temperature refrigeration. The search for a practical magnetocaloric cooling configuration for the large near-room temperature refrigeration and air-conditioning market has been conducted by many groups in different nations over the past two decades. Users of refrigeration systems containing volatile fluids that endanger the ozone layer or increase the greenhouse effect are becoming understandably impatient with the increasing expense and complexity associated with the safeguarding and recycling of refrigerants. Controversy over how to cut fossil fuel use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions underscores the importance of improving the efficiency of energy-intensive refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. A magnetic refrigeration technology that uses no hazardous fluids and has the potential for very high efficiency has great commercial potential.



Dr. Eric E. Rice

Orbital Technologies Corporation

Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive

Madison , WI 53717 - 1961

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Orbital Technologies Corporation

1212 Fourier Drive

Madison , WI 53717 - 1961