SBIR Phase I Solicitation  STTR Phase I Solicitation  Abstract Archives

NASA 2015 SBIR Select Phase I Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 H20.01-8977
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Solid and Liquid Waste Management for Human Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE: Continuous Brine Evaporation Cartridge

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
UMPQUA Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457-0102
(541) 863-7770

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
John Thompson
jthompson@urcmail.net
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek,  OR 97457-0102
(541) 863-2658

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
A microgravity-compatible Continuous Brine Evaporation Cartridge (CBEC) is proposed for greater than 95% water recovery from highly contaminated wastewater without concern for precipitation of organic and inorganic solids. The CBEC utilizes a small, counter flow evaporation chamber and heat exchange technologies, which reduce Equivalent System Mass (ESM) for water recovery via an evaporation system. A gas phase catalytic oxidizer converts organic contaminants in the moist air stream to carbon dioxide and water. The CBEC system dramatically lowers consumables and reduces long-term waste storage requirements compared to a traditional wick evaporation system. Highly contaminated wastewater streams such as urine, hygiene water, and RO brines are major wastewater streams for the CBEC. The Phase I project will focus on development of the counter flow wick evaporation cartridge and the catalytic oxidizer. The Phase II will incorporate thermal efficiency and mechanical durability to improve ESM of the CBEC system and result in delivery of 2 prototype systems, one large scale and the other for testing in microgravity. These efforts will be the foundation for the design and construction of a flight ready prototype for use on the International Space Station. The CBEC process will exceed the goal of 95% water recovery by 2022 set forth by NASA in the space technology roadmap.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
This specialized, innovative technology cannot compete effectively against large-scale distillation or reverse osmosis based desalination processes; however, the CBEC technology is ideal for smaller scale or specialty applications due to its simplicity, small size, and ability to rapidly produce pure water and permanently contain salts. These applications include routine or emergency water production and the reduction of wastewater disposal volumes aboard ships, at industrial sites, or where nuclear wastes require concentration and confinement. Other highly advantageous commercial applications include the recovery of valuable salts from concentrated solutions where relatively low temperature recovery is required and the destruction of volatile components is desired.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The NASA application for this technology will be as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of future, long duration exploration objectives beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where efficient, reliable, and low-maintenance water reclamation systems will play a critical role in reducing ECLSS logistics. The CBEC technology provides a simple, microgravity compatible method to recover water from highly contaminated wastewater and brines without concern for organic and inorganic solids. The use of a counter flow evaporation cartridge, catalytic oxidation, and heat exchange technology will lower the ESM for this technology compared to conventional air evaporation technologies. Such a water recovery system will be purchased as Flight Hardware by NASA, or by an aerospace contracting firm on behalf of NASA, resulting in enhanced capability in support of manned missions beyond LEO, where minimization of expendables, reliability, and simple operation are highly valued.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Remediation/Purification


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 H20.01-9428
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Solid and Liquid Waste Management for Human Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE: Torrefaction Processing for Human Solid Waste Management

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108-3720
(860) 528-9806

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Michael Serio
mserio@AFRinc.com
87 Church Street
East Hartford,  CT 06108-3720
(860) 528-9806

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
New technology is needed to collect, stabilize, recover useful materials, and store human fecal waste for long duration missions, both for crew safety, comfort and resource requirements and planetary protection. The proposed SBIR Phase I project addresses an innovative torrefaction (mild pyrolysis) processing approach that can be used to sterilize feces, control odor, and produce a stable, free flowing powder that can be easily stored or recycled, while simultaneously recovering all of the moisture, producing additional water, and only small amounts of other gases (CO2, CO, CH4) and liquids. The overall objective of the Phase I program is to demonstrate the feasibility of a near full (1/3) scale integrated Waste Collection/Torrefaction (WC/T) unit for fecal waste streams. The Phase I work will be accomplished in three tasks: 1) test unit design and construction; 2) laboratory testing on relevant waste streams; 3) evaluation and preliminary Phase II prototype design. This work plan will address the key questions about the WC/T unit feasibility for the application to human fecal waste and related solid waste streams. In addition, the torrefaction method can be applied using the same or similar conditions to other types of wet or dry cellulosic biomass (food, paper, wipes, clothing) which provides for some desirable redundancy in the waste management system. The Phase II prototype will be compatible with the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) and complementary to the Heat Melt Compactor (HMC), both now under development by NASA. The torrefaction process can also be accomplished with minimal crew interactions, modest energy requirements and will be able to tolerate mixed or contaminated waste streams.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
In the near term, the fecal waste processing component of the technology would also have applications to fecal waste resource recovery and/or sterilization/stabilization problems in remote areas such as underdeveloped countries, arctic regions, military operations, oil production platforms, rural areas, farms, submarines, ships, etc., analogous to the uses for NASA technology developed for water purification. In the long term, the technology could be modified and integrated with widespread terrestrial efforts to process fecal and related solid waste streams for resource recovery and biochar production. Biochar is currently being used for soil amendments, soil remediation, polymer fillers, composite materials, and carbon sequestration.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The proposed approach will make it technically feasible to process human fecal waste and related mixed waste streams, recover moisture, and produce additional water and other useful products in space which will benefit long term space travel, such as an extended Lunar stay or a mission to Mars and Asteroids/Phobos. It is beneficial to NASA in also allowing for solid waste sterilization and stabilization, planetary protection, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and/or production of chemical feedstocks and carbon materials. In particular, the solid carbon-rich residue has several potential applications in space. These include production of activated carbon, a nutrient-rich substrate for plant growth, as a filler for polymers and composites, radiation shielding, C-H-O storage, and fuel gas (CH4, CO, H2) production.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Isolation/Protection/Radiation Shielding (see also Mechanical Systems)
Remediation/Purification
Waste Storage/Treatment
In Situ Manufacturing
Processing Methods
Resource Extraction
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)
Fuels/Propellants


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 H20.01-9545
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Solid and Liquid Waste Management for Human Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE: Passive, Reliable, and Robust Water Recovery from Brine

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
IRPI, LLC
7929 Southwest Burns Way, Suite A
Wilsonville, OR 97070-7678
(503) 974-6655

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Ryan Jenson
rjenson@irpillc.com
7929 SW Burns Way STE A
Wilsonville,  OR 97070-7678
(503) 545-2501

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Brine de-watering is the final unit operation required to close the water cycle for life support aboard spacecraft. Though no such system has been demonstrated in space to date, numerous methods have been proposed and developed to various degrees. In this Phase I effort we propose to develop a versatile microgravity-compatible brine de-watering method that exploits the Brine Residual in Containment (BRIC) approach. The system is essentially passive, employing the combined effects of surface tension, wetting, and system geometry to drive and stably support the fluids involved. Our approach balances performance with simplicity, the latter which leads to a safe, clean, low-cost, fast-to-flight device with high probability of success. The broad solution approach is expected to be tolerant of pretreatments, contaminates, particulates, and widely varying input feed lines. Preliminary data suggests that the compact and lightweight approach requires only ~0.02kg of disposable support material for ~1L (~1.8 kg) of solid brine produced, and that maintenance expectations are as low as 30 minutes per 50 days per crew member. Our Phase I deliverable is a low-g drop tower-demonstrated prototype with a clear plan for rapid construction and flight qualification of a flight version for verification and validation aboard the International Space Station.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Commercial aerospace companies are currently developing life support capabilities that will also require closing the water cycle. In this light, the proposed work is directly applicable to commercial spaceflight as well. On the ground our research has applications to large scale passive fluidic operations for dewatering algae for H2 production, advanced microfluidics for water management in fuel cells, lab-on-chip devices, and porous structures for scaffolds in tissue engineering.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The capillary BRIC technology for brine dewatering is a critical and urgent item for life support aboard spacecraft. It is envisioned that NASA will be a prime user of the proposed technology and serve as both collaborator and customer of said devices. In addition to qualification, fundamental data concerning capillarity, phase change, and stability may be useful for other space-based applications involving drying or de-watering.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Remediation/Purification
Waste Storage/Treatment
Fluids


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 S20.01-9000
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Novel Spectroscopy Technology and Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: GNSS Reflectometer Instrument for Bi-static Synthetic Aperture Radar (GRIBSAR) Measurements of Earth Science Parameters

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855-2737
(301) 294-5221

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Arvind Bhat
abhat@i-a-i.com
15400 Calhoun Drive, Suite 190
Rockville,  MD 20855-2737
(301) 294-5254

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals scattered from ocean, land and ice are affected by the reflecting surface, and hence the changes induced by the surface can be observed. The full-time operation of radio navigation satellites system, abundant global signal coverage and spread spectrum communication for flexible signal processing makes GNSS reflected signals a viable candidate for Signal-Of-Opportunity (SOO) passive sensing. Existing research has shown that GNSS-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) based remote sensing has the potential to give environmental scientists a low-cost, wide-coverage measurement network that will greatly increase our knowledge of the Earth's environmental processes. The Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) team proposes to develop a GNSS Reflectometer Instrument for Bi-static Synthetic Aperture Radar (GRIBSAR) for measuring earth science parameters. Our proposed approach is modular, scalable and meets the NASA goals of multi-channel, GNSS-R system to exploit GNSS reflected signals as SOO.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The most promising commercial applications of GRIBSAR, besides NASA applications are: - Real-time digital processors: The MCDP platform represents a generic digital processing platform that can be integrated in a number of radar and communications applications. - Multi-channel GPS/GNSS Signal recorder and processing - Passive direction-finding

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
GRIBSAR can be used for a wide range of remote sensing applications for NASA including: - Reconfigurable radar systems for UAVs and manned aircrafts - Tomographic Radar for Biomass and Ice-sheet imaging. - Algorithm development platform for existing NASA radar platforms.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Navigation & Guidance
Antennas
Transmitters/Receivers
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Data Processing
Microwave
Radio


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 S20.01-9064
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Novel Spectroscopy Technology and Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: PolyStrata Greenhouse GasRadiometer for Small Satellite Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Nuvotronics, LLC
7586 Old Peppers Ferry Loop
Radford, VA 24141-8846
(800) 341-2333

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Jennifer Arroyo
contracts@nuvotronics.com
7856 Old Peppers Ferry Loop
Radford,  VA 24141-8846
(800) 341-2333

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The goal of the Phase I program is to demonstrate the potential for our approach and mitigate program risks for future development efforts. To achieve this goal, we will evaluate system level trade-offs, then design and simulate the key components. The system trade study followed by requirement definition will evaluate radiometry architectures and various PolyStrata implementations. Once a temperature detection level is decided upon, PolyStrata options will be evaluated on size, weight and power. Critical components will be designed including full wave EM modeling. Following the design, a filter section of the multiplexer and the LNA module will be fabricated and tested. The filter will specifically be tested for design and process repeatability whereas the module will evaluate LNA integration and mechanical module design features.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Millimeter wave radiometers are commercially used for security imagining systems. While the bulk of imaging systems occur at W band frequencies, there is a trend toward utilizing the upper mmWave and sub mmWave regions for increased resolution.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Nuvotronics' Compact G Band radiometer is applicable to small satellite or CubeSat applications such as CubeSat Hydrometric Atmospheric Radiometer Mission (CHARM). In this case it is potential that a series of small satellites would operate in a constellation providing increased coverage and revisit time. Other applications could include missions similar to Surface Water and Ocean Tomography (SWOT) where millimeter wave radiometers provide vital information regarding the water vapor content which is used to calibrate the larger altimetry system.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Multiplexers/Demultiplexers
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Radiometric
Microwave


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 S20.01-9708
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Novel Spectroscopy Technology and Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: New Lamellar Grating Interferometer for Spectroscopy

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Optra, Inc.
461 Boston Street
Topsfield, MA 01983-1234
(978) 887-6600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Elizabeth Schundler
eschundler@optra.com
461 Boston Street
Topsfield,  MA 01983-1234
(978) 887-2572

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
NASA is interested characterizing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases critical to global warming phenomena, and their fluxes over time. For this reason, NASA has invested in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON), which comprises sun trackers with high resolution Fourier Transform Spectrometers. NASA is currently looking to expand their observation network in order to provide more data for their atmospheric research, but this will require a reduction in spectrometer size and cost. OPTRA proposes to address this need through the development of a novel hybrid spectrometer design that leverages the strengths of Michelson and lamellar grating interferometers, while mitigating their individual weaknesses. The end result will be a compact, rugged, low cost spectrometer capable of the same performance as the current TCCON network. This technology will further be extendable to any applications where spectral data is required, but instrument size and cost are at a premium. Examples include methane pipeline monitoring, volcano emission characterization or UAV-based remote sensing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
As environmental regulation of emissions increases, the market for compact, low cost chemical sensing technologies similarly increases in order to demonstrate compliance. In addition, natural gas companies require a method to monitor their pipelines to prevent significant losses and to minimize the environmental impact of their operations. A compact, low cost system that could be integrated into a drone platform would effectively address these needs.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The proposed technology will be applicable to a wide variety of applications for which a spectrometer is needed to characterize or quantify chemicals of interest, but where size and cost are at a premium. NASA missions that may specifically benefit from hybrid LGI infusion include Earth Science and Planetary Exploration. Sample applications within these broader research areas include characterization of sulfur dioxide emissions from volcanoes, monitoring of methane pipelines, remote sensing from UAV platforms or in situ characterization of samples from a rover.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Gratings
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Interferometric (see also Analysis)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Infrared


PROPOSAL NUMBER:15-1 S20.01-9721
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Novel Spectroscopy Technology and Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Commercialization of a Laser Heterodyne Receiver for Measuring Greenhouse Gasses in an Atmospheric Column

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Paul Finkel Consulting
1848 Anamor Street
Redwood City, CA 94061-2633
(650) 208-5976

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Marv Vickers
marv@paulfinkel.com
1953 Bucks Lake Rd.
Quincy,  CA 95971-9513
(530) 283-3551

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
In order to address the inevitable need to deploy inexpensive, accurate, reliable sensors that can automatically perform greenhouse gas data collection, the proposed Phase I project builds on the measurement technique described in the paper, "Miniaturized Laser Heterodyne Radiometer for Measurement of Carbon Dioxide CO2 in the Atmospheric Column" by Wilson et al. wherein sunlight is used as the radiometer's signal source. While redesigning the RF receiver in the Mini-Laser Heterodyne Radiometer (Mini-LHR) under a NASA purchase order, Paul Finkel Consulting became familiar with every aspect of the Mini-LHR optical, electrical, software and mechanical design. Along the way, we saw several opportunities to further reduce size and cost, and improve accuracy of the entire system. Likewise, power consumption can be decreased and reliability improved. In the end, the resulting Phase I proof-of-concept system will have fewer moving parts, be lower cost, consume less power –important for solar powered installations – and will be more compact than the original system and have an accuracy better than 0.3%. Most notably, the product of Phase I will serve as a platform to validate further hardware and software improvements that will be incorporated into a commercial version in Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
One can envision several applications for a low cost, accurate atmosphere radiometer. Any place airborne chemicals need to be detected and/or their concentrations measured, the LHR is a potential solution. Applications could include: ? Measurement of smokestack emissions from the ground. ? Ground-based measurement of airborne jet or rocket engine performance by monitoring exhaust components. ? Detection and classification of harmful airborne gasses or chemicals using a manmade, broadband light source in lieu of sunlight (e.g. monitoring the atmosphere in large factory or in a mine elevator shaft using a stabilized 300 – 2600nm light source). The system can be expanded to simultaneously use multiple lasers to measure species or compounds having spectra that span a wide spectrum.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Looking to the very near future, the proposed laser heterodyne radiometer (LHR) could be installed at numerous sites - especially in the arctic where satellite (e.g. GOSAT, OCO-2) data are unavailable – to form a world-wide network capable of making real-time measurements of greenhouse gasses (GHG). Also, the proposed LHR can augment other methods currently used by NASA to measure the abundance of GHG. Also, the LHR lasers can be changed or more can be added to measure other species such as water vapor (H2O) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Further, since sunlight is a very broadband light source, levels of pollutants such as sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and carbon monoxide (CO) if the lasers and optical detector were changed.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Infrared