NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Balloons and Aerobots
PROPOSAL TITLE:In-situ Production of Hydrogen for Buoyancy on Titan

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)
Alan   Cisar
7607 Eastmark Drive, Suite 102
College Station, TX  77840 -4027
(979) 693 - 0017

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Resupply of materials in space applications is a significant logistical problem. Historically the replacement materials have been carried with the spacecraft. This problem increases dramatically as mission duration and distance from the earth increases, as in missions to Saturn or Titan. It is estimated that a buoyant vehicle operating on Titan may require 75 g of make-up hydrogen per week. This represents approximately 35 kg of additional mass at launch solely for the storage of make-up hydrogen to maintain buoyancy of the craft on Titan for a one-year mission.

During the Phase I project Lynntech demonstrated that hydrogen can be generated in-situ directly from the Titan atmosphere from 100 K to 300 K with 10 watts using proprietary plasma reformation techniques, and that metal hydrides are viable hydrogen separation devices. Lynntech's low volume, low mass (~2 kg) system will save approximately 33 kg at launch ( >$72M) for a one year Titan mission. Based on a conservative estimate (using Mars mission equivalency factors), Lynntech's proposed system has an advantageous equivalent system mass (ESM) after only 47 mission days. The Phase II effort will focus on further improving hydrogen production efficiency and a long-term endurance test of the system.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
For Phase III, Lynntech will manufacture, flight qualify and deliver two mission-ready units to NASA. With a significant increase in power, an additional NASA application of the plasma technology is the production of oxygen from Martian or lunar regolith. Production of oxygen on the Mars or Lunar surface is an enabling technology for future manned and unmanned missions in space. The oxygen generated can be used for breathing, propulsion, or in portable power generation equipment (i.e., fuel cells etc.).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
U.S. commercial vehicles operate >215.8 billion miles annually as part of the more than 2 trillion miles traveled by all vehicles on U.S. roadways. Heavy trucks and busses contribute more than 25% of NOX emissions. By slightly modifying the device proposed here to operate using diesel fuel, the plasma reformer can be used to provide small amounts of hydrogen to be injected with the fuel in diesel engines. This hydrogen serves to reduce NOX emissions by a factor of ten. Because of its cost, simplicity and robustness, Lynntech's plasma reforming technology is an elegant solution to a longstanding emissions problem.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52