NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 X5.01-9825
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multi-Cell Thermal Battery

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 - 5516
(303) 980-0890

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Douwe Bruinsma
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 - 5516
(303) 980-0890

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The multi-cell thermal battery (MCTB) is a device that can recover a large fraction of the thermal energy from heated regolith and subsequently apply this energy to heat up cool regolith. The individual cells of the MCTB contain a thermal storage media that is specifically designed for optimal performance at a given temperature range. Each of these cells is charged with thermal energy from hot regolith that has been used in a lunar ISRU application. Once the MCTB is charged, the heat is transferred from the battery to newly harvested regolith. In this manner over 85% of the heat can be transferred from the expended to the new regolith. This is a large improvement especially considering that this reduces the heating requirement to produce 1000 kg of O2 from lunar regolith from an average of 1 kW to only 0.15 kW (assuming 3% O2 recovery by weight). The other irreducible power consumption of lunar ISRU O2 production is electrolysis which consumes at least 0.3 kW. Hence, using the MCTB decreases the irreducible power consumption of lunar ISRU by 65 %.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary initial application of the multi-cell thermal battery is for heat recovery from expended lunar regolith to new regolith during O¬2 production via hydrogen reduction. The MCTB reduces the heating requirement for lunar O2 production by 85% and reduces the overall power requirement by 65% given an O2 production rate of 1000 kg/year and 3% O2 recovery by weight. During the phase I the superior performance of the MCTB will be demonstrated by transferring over 60% of the heat from hot regolith at 800 oC to cold regolith initially at 25 oC. During the subsequent Phase II and Phase III programs, the MCTB will be further optimized and refined to integrate seamlessly with state-of-the-art lunar regolith reduction systems. The MCTB will be light-weight and provide significant energy savings for lunar ISRU applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The multi-cell thermal battery will be a valuable tool wherever heat needs to be stored or transferred from one solid substance to the next. Any chemical process that requires high temperatures and operates in batch mode would greatly benefit from using the MCTB to conserve energy. Batch furnaces for hardening and annealing metals, for example, require high temperatures and operate in batch mode. Using the MCTB in this application could greatly reduce the operational cost of such facilities. In such a process the expended product can be used to fill the thermal battery with heat and this heat can then be used to pre-heat the following batch. As shown before, this can lead an energy savings of over 85%.

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.

Energy Storage
In-situ Resource Utilization
Power Management and Distribution

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50