In-Situ Resources Utilization for Organic Chemicals Production

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This proposed Small Business Innovative Research Phase I addresses the development of a catalytic system for efficient conversion of carbon dioxide and hydrogen to hydrocarbon and organic species via carbon monoxide. This approach is particularly relevant to future Mars missions, since the Martian atmosphere is comprised of over 95% CO2. The proposed approach will utilize Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) chemistry to selectively convert CO produced by CO2 reduction, e.g., from reverse water gas shift (RWGS), into hydrocarbons and oxygenates for many applications. The proposed approach is complementary to previous effort by Eltron in which nanoscale catalysts were developed for promoting RWGS. The proposed approach meshes ideally with RWGS in that stoichiometric mixtures of carbon dioxide and hydrogen lead to an H2:CO ratio of approximately 1.5 at the RWGS exit. Phase I will consist of the preparation, characterization, and evaluation of 12-15 candidate catalysts anticipated to have exceptional activity for selective (essentially CO2 free) FTS. Downselection of catalysts and identification of preferred conditions will result during Phase I. Phase II will involve the fabrication and testing of a closed loop system for converting CO2 and hydrogen into fuels, chemicals, plastics, etc.