A Compact, Efficient Pyrolysis/Oxidation System for Solid Waste Resource Recovery in Space

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
Principal Investigator


Pyrolysis processing can be used in near term missions for volume reduction, water recovery (drying), stabilization, and enhanced water and oxygen recovery through thermochemical reactions. For longer term missions, the added benefits include production of fuel, multi-purpose carbon, and reactants for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). The objective of the Phase I SBIR program was to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating pyrolysis, tar cracking, and oxidation steps into a compact, efficient, system for processing spacecraft solid wastes. This integration, which was based on a microwave pyrolysis/cracking/oxidation unit, has resulted in a significant reduction in energy consumption per gram (~70% when compared to a conventional unit), and an overall reduction in system complexity. These improvements should lead to a lower Equivalent System Mass (ESM) for a full scale system. Under Phase II, a prototype microwave pyrolysis/tar cracking/oxidation unit will be developed in collaboration with ETM Electromatic, Inc., a leading manufacturer of microwave power systems for commercial, space and military markets.