Novel CO2 Separation and Methanation for Oxygen and Fuel Production

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Precision Combustion, Inc.
410 Sackett Point Road Array
North Haven, CT 06473
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposes a novel efficient, compact, and lightweight Microlith<SUP>REG</SUP>-based CO2 separator and methanation reactor to separate CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and convert the CO2 with H2 to methane and water vapor with high CO2 conversion and high CH4 selectivity. This offers a lightweight, compact, and efficient implementation of a Mars atmosphere-fed adsorption/Sabatier/electrolysis solution for producing fuel and oxygen. CO2 conversion is expected to be & #8805;90% with near 100% CH4 selectivity at high throughputs and at low operating temperatures ( & #8804;~350<SUP>o</SUP>C). The technology will allow use of Martian in-situ resources for producing rocket propellant, reactants, and life support needs such as oxygen to significantly extend the duration and range of human/robotic planetary exploration. PCI has separately developed a regenerable CO2 separator and a CO2 methanation reactor through SBIR projects for the space station and spacecraft applications, demonstrated to be superior (i.e., lower power consumption, lighter, and smaller size) to existing technologies such as pellets and microchannels. This integrated system can contribute significantly to NASA's Martian in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) architecture, offering a potential major step forward towards establishing a human outpost in Mars.