NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- B3.01-7618 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 024381 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Spacecraft Life Support
PROPOSAL TITLE: Carbon-Supported Amine Sorbent Monoliths for Carbon Dioxide Removal

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Advanced Fuel Research Inc
87 Church Street
East Hartford , CT   06108 - 3728
(860 ) 528 - 9806

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marek Wojtowicz
87 Church Street
East Hartford , CT   06108 - 3728
(860 ) 528 - 9806

The NASA objective of expanding the human experience into the far reaches of space will require the development of regenerable life support systems. On-board carbon dioxide (CO2) removal units play a key role in such systems ensuring high quality cabin air for crew members. Similar but more compact units are needed for extravehicular activities (space suit). The overall objective is to develop a CO2-removal system that possesses substantial weight, size, and power-requirement advantages over current systems (improved CO2 adsorption and lower pressure drop). The proposed innovation involves the use and manufacture of lightweight, porous carbon monoliths with controlled pore characteristics that will serve as support for the sorbent material (amines). The objective of the Phase I study is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the above approach. This will be accomplished in the following three tasks: (1) Preparation and Characterization of Amine Sorbents Supported on Porous Carbon Monoliths; (2) Sorbent Testing; and (3) Product Assessment. The anticipated benefits include: (a) improved heat-transfer within the sorbent (increased CO2 capacity); (b) increased specific surface area (higher amine loading and, thus, increased CO2 capacity); (c) lower pressure drop (reduced power requirements); and (d) simultaneous removal of water vapor and trace contaminants.

The carbon materials developed in this project could find spin-off applications in fuel cells and batteries. Greenhouse gas mitigation is another potential application. DOE is aggressively pursuing technologies beyond pumped aqueous amine systems that can be used for point source reduction of CO2. These systems must offer lower cost of capture compared to the pumped amine systems. Our solid amine systems can offer higher amine loadings and, therefore, better CO2 removal compared to the pumped systems. This can translate into smaller systems, lowering capital costs. Due to a lower power requirement, operating costs are also expected to be lower. CO2 scrubbing in the medical field offers additional opportunities (inhalation drug therapy and anesthetic CO2 removal). European and US manufacturers are having more difficulty with single-use CO2 scrubbers due to the increased disposal costs. Regenerable technologies will provide reduced cost when the overall life cycle costs are counted (e.g. disposal).

The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, both in cabin-air revitalization and extravehicular activities (e.g., space suit).

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10