PCI Nanosorbent System Wins NASA SBIR Phase I Project for Cleaning Spacesuit Air


August 2, 2016

(North Haven, CT) Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) announced today it has been awarded a NASA Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project for its Trace Contaminant Control System for Advanced Spacesuit Applications.

Astronauts breathe recycled air, and spacesuit air must be cleaned of trace contaminants such as ammonia and organic compounds to keep it safe. PCI’s proposed system uses a novel long-life nanomaterial sorbent to capture the contaminants, with on-suit vacuum swing regeneration to clean them from the system. Unlike currently-used activated charcoal beds that cannot be regenerated and that are bulky, require frequent replacement, and have high life cycle operating cost, PCI’s sorbent is ultra-compact and regenerable, has high sorption capacity, and can be tailored to targeted requirements.  This new technology offers the potential for much longer spacesuit mission duration while reducing volume, weight, consumables dependence, and energy consumption.

President Kevin Burns remarked, “If astronauts are to move freely in space and on other planets, they will need spacesuit life support that can sustain them as long as possible. We are hopeful that our designed nanomaterials-based approach combined with vacuum regeneration will provide a step in this direction.”

PCI is also exploring other applications for the regenerable air cleaning technology, including potential application for commercial aircraft air purification systems as well as applications in commercial buildings, where this technology could improve air quality while cutting energy costs.


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