NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X12.07-9723
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Advanced Life Support: Water and Waste Processing
PROPOSAL TITLE:Dense Medium Plasma Water Purification Reactor (DMP WaPR)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Orbital Technologies Corp
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison ,WI 53717 - 1961
(608) 827 - 5000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Yonghui   Ma
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI  53717 -1961
(608) 827 - 5000

The Dense Medium Plasma Water Purification Reactor offers significant improvements over existing water purification technologies used in Advanced Life Support systems such as bioreactors, catalysts, and membrane based systems. Evaluation of water contaminated with bacteria and plasma-treated indicates that, prior to any optimization of the DMP reactor, contamination levels can be reduced by up to 99.9%. Organic contaminant concentrations (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene) can be reduced below the detectable range. The DMP reactor is more energy efficient than other Advanced Oxidation Techniques and does not contain expendable materials or produce toxic side products. The atmospheric-pressure plasma is initiated and sustained through a large number of micro-discharges between a rotating pin-array electrode and a stationary electrode. The plasma breaks down organic compounds via the generation of OH? and H? free radicals through interaction at the gas-liquid boundary.
The DMP reactor uses non-equilibrium, low temperature, atmospheric-pressure plasmas for the volume-plasma-processing of liquid-phase compounds (water-based solutions). This Partial Discharge (PD) plasma is considered a highly localized electrical discharge produced across an insulating medium, typically between two electrodes. Characteristics of a PD are highly dependent upon electrode geometry and operational parameters and, therefore, require significant research for optimization into a NASA ALS setting.

The DMP WaPR has direct applicability to NASA ALS needs including substitution for the current Catalytic Reactor. This substitution would eliminate the need for high pressure and temperature controls within the Water Processor Assembly (WPA) and, therefore, should decrease system mass, volume and power, and increase system reliability. Such a technology and capability substitution would be applicable to the crew exploration vehicle (CEV) and other early exploration developments. Additionally, the DMP WaPR is a highly efficient and scaleable technology for scale-up to Lunar and Mars long duration missions with no expendable materials. Its scalability also makes it an excellent candidate for a wide range of life support applications from temporary habitats and small payloads to large-scale habitats.

The scalability of the DMP WaPR allows for easy use for household, office, industrial, laboratory or hospital, and food processing industries' Point-Of-Entry (POE) or Point-Of-Use (POU) water purification at relatively low energy expenditure with high purification results. Additionally, this technology could be used for medium and large scale applications such as municipal water treatment systems and portable to semi-portable water purification systems for the military (e.g., field use by the Army, Navy and Marines for hospitals), Homeland Security, and disaster relief, and submarine, ship, and aircraft potable supplies.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Sterilization/Pathogen and Microbial Control
Waste Processing and Reclamation

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12