Non Thermal Plasma Assisted Catalytic Reactor for CO2 Methanation

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
COLLEGE STATION, TX 77845
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

In situ production of methane as propellant by methanation of CO2, also called Sabatier reaction, is a key enabling technology required for sustainable and affordable human exploration of Mars. The Sabatier reaction is conventionally carried out in a fixed bed catalyst at high temperatures of 350-400 ?C. For the long duration future Mars missions (~ 18 months expected stay on Mars), the fixed bed Sabatier reactor design however is inadequate due to performance and catalyst durability issues. In addition thermal management within the reactor is a major issue due to exothermicity of the reaction. Lynntech has demonstrated the feasibility of a novel low power, low temperature plasma assisted catalysis process for addressing these limitations with the methanation of CO2 at a scale of 14 g/h methane production rate. In the Phase II project, Lynntech proposes to build and demonstrate a full scale (0.55 kg/h methane production rate) Sabatier reactor for NASA application. The anticipated Technology Readiness Level at the beginning and ending of Phase II will be 3 and 4, respectively.