NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X3.01-9527
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Process Technologies for Life Support System Loop Closure
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hydrogen Generator by Methane Pyrolysis with Carbon Capture

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53717 - 1961
(608) 827-5000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeff Johnson
1212 Fourier Drive
Madison, WI 53711 - 1961
(608) 229-2828

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
ORBITEC proposes to develop, fabricate, and test a system to provide 99.999% hydrogen by efficiently performing methane pyrolysis. The system has three unique features: (1) the methane pyrolysis reactor that does not rely on high single-pass efficiencies (which will make the system robust), (2) it incorporates batch processing modes, cleaning cycles, and a carbon capture device (which makes it reusable), and (3) it uses palladium membrane technology to separate the hydrogen from the methane stream (which makes the H2 effluent very pure). ORBITEC proposes the Hydrogen Generator by Methane Pyrolysis with Carbon Capture, herein referred to as the H2Gen system.

During Phase 1 of this effort, ORBITEC will test the four major components of the system: the methane pyrolysis reactor, the carbon removal mechanism, the carbon capture device, and the hydrogen remover. The performance and efficiency of each component will be tested and characterized.

Phase 2 will expand upon these efforts and a full-scale brassboard prototype will be developed and built, maintaining the efficiencies of the system while optimizing overall mass and volume.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As the future of manned spaceflight will depend on creating and utilizing a water-based economy, this technology will ultimately benefit NASA human spaceflight as it will assist in closing the water resource loop by recovering additional water (when used with the Sabatier system) from waste resources for all long-duration manned missions. This technology will not only support future long-duration objectives such as lunar surface, Mars transit, and Mars surface missions, but with the extension of the ISS operation, the H2Gen system could be employed on the ISS and used with the existing Sabatier system. Additionally, if hydrogen is a desired propellant for a Mars mission, this technology could be used with a Sabatier to convert Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide into hydrogen fuel.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
For commercial human spaceflight, application of this technology will be of great importance to commercial Low Earth Orbit destination provides such as Bigelow Aerospace. Again, creating and utilizing a water-based economy will be of great importance to keep launch costs and overall operational costs at a minimum. ORBITEC is the primary life support system provider for Bigelow Aerospace and envisions that the H2Gen system would be a great addition to their inflatable ECLSS.

Terrestrially, the proposed technology has the ability to produce a fuel (hydrogen) from a fossil fuel (methane). Creating an economy based on hydrogen fuel has been a primary goal of society throughout the past decade. Primarily, this technology could be useful in the fledgling hydrogen fuel cell markets such as propulsion technologies, backup power units, and vehicular transport and auxiliary power units.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12