NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-2 H4.02-8807
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Suit Life Support and Avionics Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Regenerable Sorbent for Combined CO2, Water, and Trace-Contaminant Capture in the Primary Life Support System (PLSS)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108 - 3720
(860) 528-9806

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marek A Wojtowicz
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108 - 3720
(860) 528-9806 Extension :142

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael A Serio
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108 - 3720
(860) 528-9806 Extension :105

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Space Suit Life Support and Avionics Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The NASA objective of expanding the human experience into the far reaches of space requires the development of regenerable life support systems. This proposal addresses the development of an integrated air-revitalization system for the space suit used in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The proposed innovations are: (1) a single CO2, trace-contaminant, and H2O management unit; (2) a single sorbent possessing the capability to remove CO2, trace contaminants, and H2O; (3) monolithic sorption unit to provide the following functions: (a) CO2 sorbent; (b) trace-contaminant sorbent; (c) H2O sorbent; (d) low pressure drop; (e) good thermal management (heat transfer and low heat of adsorption); (f) resistance to dusty environments; and (4) regenerable operation. The overall objective is to develop a CO2/trace-contaminant/H2O removal system that is regenerable and that possesses weight, size, and power-requirement advantages over the current state of the art. The Phase 1 objectives were: (1) to demonstrate the technical feasibility of using a novel CO2 sorbent; and (2) to demonstrate effective CO2, ammonia, and H2O sorption and regeneration. These objectives were successfully accomplished. The Phase II objectives are to optimize sorbent properties and performance, to design, construct, and test a prototype, and to provide guidelines for the integration of the proposed concept with the PLSS. This will be accomplished in the following tasks: (1) Sorbent Development and Optimization; (2) Testing in Subscale Systems at Hamilton Sundstrand; (3) Prototype Design; (4) Prototype Construction; (5) Prototype Testing; and (6) System Evaluation.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, mainly in extravehicular activities (space suit) but, after modifications, also in cabin-air revitalization.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Greenhouse gas mitigation is a potential application. DOE is aggressively pursuing technologies beyond pumped aqueous amine systems that can be used for point source reduction of CO2. These systems must offer lower cost of capture compared to the pumped amine systems. Our sorbent can offer an attractive alternative for better CO2 removal compared to the pumped amine systems. This can translate into smaller systems, lowering capital costs. Our system is also expected to provide more efficient regeneration (lower thermal energy requirement), thus reducing operating costs. The monolithic support also offers pressure-drop advantages for CO2 capture from the flue gas.

European and US manufacturers are having more difficulty with single-use CO2 scrubbers due to the increased disposal costs. Regenerable technologies will provide advantages when the overall life cycle costs are counted (e.g., disposal). The proposed technology may also find an important application in air-revitalization on board U.S. Navy submarines and in future air-conditioning systems.

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.)
Protective Clothing/Space Suits/Breathing Apparatus

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