NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 17-2 H1.01-9317
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Mars Atmosphere Acquisition, Separation, and Conditioning for ISRU
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Capacity Multi-Stage Scroll Compressor for Mars Atmosphere Acquisition

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Air Squared, Inc.
510 Burbank Street
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(513) 200-3787

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Wilson
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(303) 466-2669

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Bryce Shaffer
510 Burbank St.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 1604
(513) 238-9778

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 7

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Mars Atmosphere Acquisition, Separation, and Conditioning for ISRU 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 proposed innovation supports technologies for In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) processes by collecting and pressurizing gasses from the Mars atmosphere for eventual oxygen production by use of Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOXE). There are several ways to capture and pressurize CO2, including freezing at cryogenic temperatures, mechanical compression, and absorption. Completed studies on each approach, have generally favored cryogenic temperature and mechanical compression solutions. Recently, mechanical compression has gained momentum through the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), which utilizes an Air Squared compressor for mechanical compression of CO2. If this approach is pursued further for a larger system, there are still several questions concerning reliability over 10,000 hours of autonomous operation in Mars environment and scalability. Air Squared plans on addressing these issues as part of Phase II.

The proposed innovation is a Martian Atmosphere Scroll Compressor (MASC). Dealing with the low pressures of the Martian atmosphere, the MASC functions like a vacuum pump utilizing Air Squared scroll compressor technology. During Phase I, Air Squared tested several orbiting and spinning scroll prototypes on CO2 at a wide range of discharge pressures and superior efficiency was demonstrated with lower discharge pressures. Parallel efforts by NASA-JPL on MOXIE, showed no performance degradation of the SOXE at reduced pressures down to 4.4 PSIA. Additionally, reducing the cathode pressure provides more margin against starting to electrolyze CO. For this reason, Air Squared has decided to focus exclusively on collection-only in an attempt to concentrate efforts on a lightweight and efficient MASC, supporting oxygen generation. The following proposed Phase II work will further develop both a spinning and orbiting scroll MASC for providing 2.7 kg/hr of CO2 at discharge pressures between 4.4 and 15 PSIA.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
To meet NASA?s ambitious goal of human exploration of Mars, the MASC provides in-situ resource utilization for the production of oxygen and fuel derived from the CO2 rich Martian atmosphere. Designed to minimize size, weight, and power requirements without compromising efficiency, the MASC is applicable to NASA?s many atmospheric collection and monitoring demands. Engineered for the collection of CO2 for the Mar Rover 2020 mission, the MASC is a next-generation evolution of Air Squared?s successful MOXIE scroll compressor, re-imagined for human exploration of space. Scaled up, the MASC would apply to storage and utilization of CO2 on future Mars missions to supply the raw materials for oxygen and fuel production. Scaled down, the MASC could be integrated onboard NASA?s crewed spacecraft to collect and analyze atmospheric particulate to monitor the safety of the astronauts on board. Additionally, the MASC could fulfill the atmospheric monitoring and safety needs on board the ISS by collecting CO2 and other toxins and regulating the breathable environment. Via a low power, compact, and reliable design, the MASC could reduce space transit fuel costs for Mars exploration crews by supplying them with oxygen and fuel for the journey back home.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Where size, weight, and power are at a premium, the MASC excels, making it a perfect fit for military and commercial aerospace markets. The MASC could replace state of the art air compressors in On-Board Oxygen Generation Systems (OBOGS) which recycles cabin atmosphere in military aircraft, eliminating the need for heavy and tightly temperature controlled liquid oxygen tanks, thereby extending mission lengths and increasing pilot performance. Air Squared has an existing partnership with Cobham Manufacturing to produce scroll air compressors in their OBOGSs and once testing is completed, the MASC would be a next-generation upgrade for military aircraft. A spinning scroll compressor design, like the MASC, would minimize space and weight needs while maintaining versatile compatibility with several different military aircraft.

Integrated as an air compressor for aviation potable water systems, the MASC could provide more efficient, lighter, and smaller solution to the commercial air transportation industry. The MASC could reach a market already established in Air Squared?s partnership with Airbus to retrofit their current potable water system. The adaptive MASC would solve previous reliability issues through its less complex spinning scroll design. If successful, the spinning scroll MASC will provide a pathway for tailoring the technology to the additional compressor and vacuum pump applications in the commercial aerospace industry.

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.)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Pressure & Vacuum Systems

Form Generated on 03-05-18 17:24