NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 T9.01-9990
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Rocket Propulsion Testing Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Non Intrrusive, On-line, Simultaneous Multi-Species Impurity Monitor in Hydrogen

NAME: Mississippi Ethanol, LLC NAME: Mississippi State University
STREET: P.O. Box 186 STREET: 205 Research Blvd
CITY: Winona CITY: Starkville
STATE/ZIP: MS  38967 - 9513 STATE/ZIP: MS  39759 - 7704
PHONE: (662) 283-4722 PHONE: (662) 325-7375

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jagdish P Singh

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 1 to 2

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The purity of hydrogen fuel is important in engine testing at SSC. The hydrogen may become contaminated with nitrogen, argon, or oxygen. The hydrogen from the fuel tanks or feed lines is analyzed beforehand. Therefore, there is a need for a non-intrusive, on-line, near real-time monitor for H2. The analytical technique should measure various impurities (molecular and atomic) simultaneously and be easy to implement in the field. The objective of this proposed research is to develop an analytical technique based on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to measure simultaneously the concentrations of nitrogen (N2), argon (Ar) and oxygen (O2) contaminants in hydrogen (H2) gas storage tanks and supply lines. Advanced sensors for monitoring multiple species in H2 feed-lines and storage tanks will be useful before engine testing and will increase understanding of engine performance. Phase I will provide necessary information to build an improved prototype in Phase II, with better sensitivity and ease of implementation at NASA/SSC. In Phase II, a prototype LIBS system will be developed to measure impurities in H2 fuel at different places in the H2 feed line. This system will be delivered to NASA/SSC at the end of Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A LIBS-based sensor can provide on-line, real-time and simultaneous measurement of the concentrations of several species in H2 tanks and feed lines at many locations in the testing facilities at NASA/SSC. This sensor can be used for non– intrusive and near real-time monitoring of the quality of H2 before and during engine tests. This sensor will be useful to test H2 impurity levels and will be less expensive than current analysis methods. The impurity level data can be used with other measurements for evaluating the engine performance.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed LIBS sensor can also be used to monitor gas compositions in manufacturing plants to provide data for control and optimization. For example, when the concentration of an impurity, (which will vary depending on the application), reaches a threshold value, the sensor could warn the plant operator. The LIBS sensor can be used for quality control in pharmaceutical, chemical, and food processing industries. The technology can also be modified for other applications, such as a Continuous Emission Monitor (CEM) for hazardous emissions and in other pharmaceutical and chemical processes.

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