NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 X4.02-9046
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multi-Use Solar Thermal System for Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith [7227-570]

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Takashi Nakamura
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(925) 743-1110

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose to develop an innovative solar thermal system for oxygen production from lunar regolith. In this system solar radiation is collected by the concentrator array which transfers the concentrated solar radiation to the optical waveguide (OW) transmission line made of low loss optical fibers. The OW transmission line directs the solar radiation to the thermal receiver for processing of lunar regolith for oxygen production. Key features of the proposed system are: 1. Highly concentrated solar radiation (~ 4×103suns) can be transmitted via the flexible OW transmission line directly to the thermal receiver for oxygen production from lunar regolith; 2. Power scale-up of the system can be achieved by incremental increase of the number of concentrator units; 3. The system can be autonomous, stationary or mobile, and easily transported and deployed on the lunar surface; and 4. The system can be applied to a variety of oxygen production processes. The proposed Phase II program consists of the following tasks: Task-1: Develop an engineering prototype of the solar thermal system. Task-2: Integrate the solar thermal system with the carbothermal process reactor for utility demonstration and performance evaluation. Task-3: Improve the key components to the level acceptable for a space-based operational system.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Application of the proposed solar power system to terrestrial uses is not straightforward, although it will be possible as its technical maturity progresses. One difficulty for applying this system in terrestrial application is that the system must compete with existing thermal source. Other application such as lighting may be a possibility. In such application the bottom line is the cost. The proposed research program addresses this very issue to develop the solar power system which will overcome the constraints imposed on the conventional system concept. The solar power system proposed in this program will be lightweight, small scale, and modular. When developed to technical maturity, the proposed system will be used for a small scale, transportable solar heat source for: detoxification of contaminated soil; small power plant using compact heat engine; air conditioning cycle; and industrial process heat.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed solar thermal system, when developed to technical maturity, will have broad application potentials for ISRU and space manufacturing processing on the Moon. In addition, the system can be used as a thermal source for electric power generation. The proposed solar thermal system is modular, transportable and easily deployed on site where ISRU materials processing must be conducted. The specific application of the proposed solar thermal system is for production of oxygen and other useful materials on the lunar surface. The solar thermal power system to be developed in this program can also be used for on-orbit power conversion applications using dynamic electric power generator, such as Stirling converter. This also applies to electric power generation on the lunar surface.

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.

In-situ Resource Utilization

Form Generated on 08-02-07 14:39