NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X5.01-9824
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lunar Sulfur Capture System

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)
Mark Berggren
11111 W. 8th Ave Unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 - 5516
(303) 980-0231

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Lunar Sulfur Capture System (LSCS) is an innovative method to capture greater than 90 percent of sulfur gases evolved during thermal treatment of lunar soils. LSCS sorbents are based on lunar soil iron compounds that trap sulfur contained in hot in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) product gases. Small amounts of polishing sorbents are used as needed to reduce equilibrium sulfur concentrations to the ppm or sub-ppm level. The LSCS is an effective technology for protecting in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) hardware from damage caused by the corrosive effects of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and other sulfur-containing gases. Saturated sorbents can be regenerated for reuse, and desorbed sulfur can be converted to elemental sulfur. Key process steps include bulk H2S capture on lunar soil, further capture of H2S on polishing sorbent, regeneration of soil sorbent for re-use, recovery of high-purity H2S, and conversion of H2S to elemental sulfur. The LSCS reduces the risk of using Earth-based sorbents for primary sulfur capture by ensuring a ready supply of sorbent in the event of poor regeneration performance or process upset. The LSCS primary sulfur sorbent can be used as a non-regenerable sorbent if necessary without significant consequence to the ISRU process.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary initial application of the LSCS is for lunar sulfur capture and recovery. The LSCS has direct use to both protect ISRU hardware and catalysts and to produce useful amounts of sulfur for other lunar ISRU applications. The LSCS is directed at reducing the mass penalty and risk associated with the use of Earth-based sorbents for hydrogen reduction and other lunar oxygen production processes.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The LSCS has direct commercialization potential for thermal-catalytic synthesis processes that require sulfur removal from reducing gases derived from coal, biomass, or other impure hydrocarbon feeds in support of fuels and chemicals manufacture. The closed-loop aspect of the LSCS sulfur recovery system is particularly attractive as a potential zero-emission sulfur recovery system for terrestrial applications.

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

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