NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X7.01-9295
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Storage for Space Exploration Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Liquid Hydrogen Cooler with a Cooling Capacity of 20 Watts

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Atlas Scientific
1367 Camino Robles Way
San Jose, CA 95120 - 4925
(408) 507-0906

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James R Maddocks
1415 Engineering Drive, Rm 1339A
Madison, WI 53706 - 1607
(608) 265-4246

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
For the future spaceport and long-term storage of liquid hydrogen NASA requires cryocoolers that can provide cooling power in the range of 20 watts at 20 K. The closed-cycle cooling alternatives currently available for such applications are not well suited to the requirements. In many cases reliability is low and vibration high. In other cases coolers are too massive and inefficient. This proposal describes a two-stage pulse tube cryocooler that combines several innovative design features. The proposed pulse tube will be light-weight, efficient, reliable, vibration free, and easy to integrate with cryogenic dewars.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Missions to moon and Mars that involve the in-situ manufacture of propellant will require the capability to store hydrogen for long periods of time. To accomplish this, a cryocooler mounted on the storage vessel that is capable of sub-cooling the liquid, intercepting parasitic heat leaks, and re-liquefying hydrogen vapor will be required. The proposed two-stage pulse-tube cooler is ideally suited to such applications. For missions that will involve transportation or in-situ liquefaction of liquid cryogens such as hydrogen and oxygen, the proposed two-stage pulse-tube cooler is again ideally suited. The presence of two stages allows cooling at two temperatures. The proposed cooler is easily modified to liquefy hydrogen at the low temperature stage, and oxygen, for example, at the higher temperature stage.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A market of about $100 million/year currently exists for G-M cooler-based cryopumps for sputtering systems used in the semiconductor industry. Sputtering systems normally have several cryopumps per unit with each cryopump costing $20-25,000. We forecast that the more reliable pulse tube cooler would cost about the same as current G-M units and will be less expensive to maintain due to the lack of oil and rubbing surfaces. Other cooling applications include: superconducting magnets for MRI systems, superconducting magnets for power generation and energy storage, liquefaction of industrial gases and radio astronomy.

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.

Fluid Storage and Handling
Propellant Storage

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56