NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X3.02-9723
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith
PROPOSAL TITLE: Counterflow Regolith Heat Exchanger

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
dbruinsma@pioneerastro.com
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 - 5516
(303) 468-6718

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The counterflow regolith heat exchanger (CoRHE) is a device that transfers heat from hot regolith to cold regolith. The CoRHE is essentially a tube-in-tube heat exchanger with internal and external augers attached to the inner, rotating tube to move the regolith. Hot regolith in the outer tube is moved in one direction by a right-handed auger and the cool regolith in the inner tube is moved in the opposite by a left-handed auger attached to the inside of the rotating tube. In this counterflow arrangement a large fraction of the heat from the expended regolith is transferred to the new regolith. The spent regolith leaves the heat exchanger close to the temperature of the cold new regolith and the new regolith is pre-heated close to the initial temperature of the spent regolith. Using the CoRHE can reduce the heating requirement of a lunar ISRU system by 80%, reducing the total power consumption by a factor of two.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The counterflow regolith heat exchanger (CoRHE) provides an efficient means to transfer heat from hot regolith to cold regolith. The ability to conserve the heat from the expended regolith can lead to significant energy savings for a lunar oxygen production system. If, for example, oxygen is produced at a rate of 1 metric ton (MT) per year with an oxygen content of 2% in the soil, then 50 metric tons of regolith must be processed per year. With oxygen production occurring 50% of the time (only during daylight) then the heating load is an average of 2.8 kW. In comparison, the electrolysis power required to produce 1 MT of oxygen per year at 50% duty cycle is about 1.1 kW. Thus, heating the regolith is one of the major power consumers of a lunar oxygen production system. The counterflow regolith heat exchanger is intended to reduce the heating requirement for the lunar oxygen production system by 80% with minimal hardware and power requirements. This reduces the total power requirement of the oxygen production system from 3.9 kW to 1.7 kW, a power savings of 55%.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are many chemical processes where powders or granular materials are processed at high temperatures. In each of these processes energy is spent heating and cooling the chemicals. The CoRHE can be used to simultaneously heat and cool the chemicals for a significant energy savings.

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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
In-situ Resource Utilization


Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56