NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B3.01-8628
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Environmental Control of Spacecraft Cabin Atmosphere
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Composite Membrane for Space Life Supporting System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
T3 Scientific LLC
1839 Noble Road
Arden Hills, MN 55112-7834
(651)353-7429

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Chung-Yi (Andy) Tsai
Andy.Tsai@t3scientific.com
1839 Noble Road
Arden Hills, MN 55112-7834
(651)353-7429

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Space life-supporting systems require effective removal of metabolic CO2 from the cabin atmosphere with minimal loss of O2. Conventional techniques, using either metal hydroxide or metal oxide sobent, require after-mission regeneration or replacement, thus putting a critical cap on mission duration. More recent techniques, such as pressure swing adsorption-based process also require regeneration and use expendable resources. A novel approach to the problem is the use of a membrane device that can effectively separate CO2 in the presence of moisture, using space vacuum as the driving force. Such a membrane device has minimal mass, volume and power penalty and does not require regeneration; therefore, long-duration space exploration can be realized. In Phase I, we will develop a novel nanocomposite membrane with a microporous aminosilicate structure for enhanced CO2 separation with simultaneous humidity control. CO2 preferentially adsorbs onto the pore surfaces of the aminosilicate membrane and transports via surface diffusion, thus resulting in pore blockage or pore size reduction to prevent other inert gases such as O2 and N2 from permeating through. With the combination of molecular sieving and surface diffusion mechanisms, the proposed membrane can be expected to achieve superb CO2 separation performance for effective spacecraft cabin air revitalization.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Potential NASA applications for the proposed novel membrane include environmental CO2 partial pressure control for spacecraft, space station, and spacesuit applications. This proposed novel composite membrane could be an enabling technology for NASA manned space program, allowing potential extended mission duration with less consumables compared to the baseline technologies.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Potential non-NASA applications for the proposed novel membrane include enhanced oil recovery, separation of CO2 from natural gas streams, CO2 recovery from fermentation processes, building CO2-level active control, and fruit and vegetable preservation.