Highly Efficient Solid Oxide Electrolyzer&Sabatier System

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

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Paragon Space Development Corporation
3481 East Michigan Street
Tucson, AZ 85714
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) and ENrG Incorporated (ENrG) are teaming to provide a highly efficient reactor for carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide (CO/CO2) conversion into methane (CH4). The system is a gravity-independent, compact, leak-tight, Solid Oxide Electrolyzer (SOE) system with embedded Sabatier reactors (ESR). Applying Corning Incorporated (Corning) Intellectual Property (IP), ENrG and Paragon can leverage an all-ceramic, efficient, and low mass solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that remains leak-tight after hundreds of thermal cycles. Paragon proposes that incorporation of the all-ceramic technology into our SOE/ESR system will result in a design that will: 1) be thermally shock tolerant and capable of hundreds of on-off cycles at faster cycles than compared to the metal-to-ceramic SOE designs, 2) be lighter, smaller, and require less power than existing designs, 3) allow for high (>90%) single pass utilization of feedstock, and 4) achieve a thermodynamic efficiency of up to 80%. Our Phase II effort includes laboratory tests to optimize operation of an all-ceramic design for increased single pass utilization of the feed stock and mitigation of carbon deposition. Engineering analyses and component testing will be performed to inform the design of a stack. The stack will be built and tested to verify requirements. Results will be used to size a full system with recommendations for integration. An engineering development unit will be built and delivered to NASA. Integrating cells that operate as either an electrolyzer or a Sabatier reactor simplifies operations, lowers hardware complexity, and increases reliability. The proposed system can perform multiple functions without modifications, making it a readily deployable technology for various missions from ISRU on the Moon and Mars to regenerating 100% of a crew's oxygen in spacecraft or habitats.