NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-F4.02-9055 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 033950)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Crew Habitability Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Electrochemical Hydrogen Peroxide Generator for Multiple Applications in Space

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Lynntech, Inc.
7607 Eastmark Drive, Suite 102
College Station ,TX 77840 - 4027
(979) 693 - 0017

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Charles L. Tennakoon
7607 Eastmark Drive, Suite 102
College Station ,TX  77840 -4027
(979) 693 - 0017
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) facilities require the development of reliable systems for the disinfection of microorganisms. There are several disinfectants that have been used, or proposed for use in CELSS facilities, including hypochlorite, iodine, ozone, silver, and quaternary ammonium compounds. All of these compounds suffer from at least one of several major drawbacks: (1) they are replaceable items and must be replaced after consumption; (2) in situ generation of the compound creates a safety concern; (3) in situ generation is not yet technically feasible; (4) in situ generation is incompatible with CELSS equipment infrastructure. Additionally, many of these compounds have been linked to crew health problems after extended flight periods. Substitution of these conventional biocides with a safe, antimicrobial compound for which in situ generation is safe and possible is urgently needed for crew safety, maintaining process equipment, and solid waste sanitation. The aim of this project is to develop an on-demand electrochemical hydrogen peroxide generator that can be operated in microgravity from electrolysis of water with no consumable chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide also has the potential to be regenerative within the overall system as it breaks down into water and oxygen during the sanitizing process.

Hydrogen peroxide offers a wide variety of performance and logistical advantages for space missions due to its ability to disinfect either in liquid or vapor phase. It can be used to control biofilms from aqueous environments, such as found in hydroponic systems along with fluid handling components and measuring equipment. It can also be used to sanitize and deodorize stored dry solid waste, function as a general purpose disinfectant, and produce potable water. Other uses include food sanitation, disinfection of fresh produce, periodical cleaning of hydroponic systems and sanitizing surfaces.

The proposed electrochemical device for generation of a disinfectant can be easily modified without the gas/liquid separator designed for space, to suit a variety of ground based applications. Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile disinfectant, and electrochemical generators are easily scaled up or down. Miniature devices will find applications in household devices to be fitted to refrigerators or all-in-one mop systems; larger point-of-use devices can produce high quality potable water. The use of the on-demand disinfectant generator will find applications in cafeterias and hospitals where disinfection of hands of workers is essential to avoid disease transmission.