NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X3.03-9097
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar ISRU Development and Precursor Activities
PROPOSAL TITLE: Development of a Direct Carbon Fuel Cell for Power and Fuels Cogeneration Directly from Plastic Trash

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Materials and Systems Research, Inc.
5395 West 700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84104 - 4403
(801) 530-4987

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Greg Tao
5395 West 700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84104 - 4403
(801) 530-4987

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This small business innovation research is intended to develop a simple processing concept based-on an advanced direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) technology enabling directly converting plastic trash into life support consumables (such as H2, CO2 and H2O) and electricity simultaneously, for supporting Lunar ISRU development. The proposed innovation involves the areas associated with the advanced DCFC characteristics and simplified processes turning plastic trash into renewable energy at a high efficiency. In Phase I, the decomposition/oxidation electrochemistry of polyethylene-based plastic bags and spoons, catalyzed by molten carbonate anode composites, will be characterized. Tubular electrochemical cells built upon the proposed DCFC technology will be studied at elevated temperatures, followed by performance optimization.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The DCFC-based device integral with a water-gas-shift reactor, a Sabatier reactor and solar cells can in-situ convert plastic trash and crew solid waste directly into electricity, methane fuel and water, providing a residential environment for supporting human extraterrestrial exploration activities. For such applications, the weight and volume of the life support consumables are important considerations, because both must be as low as possible to decrease payload and thus cost significantly. The Applicant's state-of-the-art DCFC innovation will have the potential to prolong the NASA long-duration missions with substantial savings in mission costs and launch/landing masses.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
DCFC, which co-generates electricity and fuels directly from plastic trash, can be viewed as an energy recovering device. Presently polymer and plastic industry values at around $1.6 trillion. DCFC integral with a water-gas-shift reactor can be used to recover the ecology-unfriendly plastic waste into electricity and hydrogen for power parks and H2 internal combustion engines applications. DCFC is also capable of running on locally available low-value waste feedstock or coal for distributed power generation application.

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.

Renewable Energy

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56