PCI Wins NASA STTR Phase I Award for Spacesuit Trace Contaminant Control Adsorber

January 09, 2012

(New Haven, CT) Precision Combustion Inc. (PCI) announced today that it has been selected for a NASA STTR Phase I award in collaboration with the University of Hartford for a compact, regenerable, low power adsorber for Spacesuit CO2, Humidity, and Trace Contaminant Control.

Trace contaminants generated via metabolic processes, off-gassing of spacesuit materials, and other by-products are introduced into the ventilation loop of a spacesuit and must be removed. However, current approaches to space suit atmosphere revitalization, though effective, are non-regenerable in space, incompatible with each other and also have significant power consumption associated with high life cycle operating cost. PCI proposes an ultra-compact regenerable CO2, water and trace contaminant removal system, which will contribute to a light-weight, efficient Trace Contaminant Control system with reduced power consumption and cost. In conjunction with Professor Thomas Filburn at University of Hartford, the Phase I effort will demonstrate proof of concept. The effort will also aim to analyze effective and rapid regeneration with an operating demonstration on a bench scale using selected trace contaminants.

The advantages to PCI’s proposed initiative include design commonality, rapid regeneration with minimal power, lower weight and cost, and adsorbent flexibility.  PCI has previously performed two successful NASA SBIR programs which have completed phases 1, 2 and 3 for spacecraft applications of Microlith reactors.  

Dr. Saurabh A. Vilekar, Principal Investigator of the project states that

"Successful implementation of PCI’s modular strategy will increase flexibility of equipment and improve operational safety while reducing total equipment volume and material inventory.  Additional benefits include simplification of operations, reduced volume and weight as well as the potential for reduced energy consumption. We view this project as a good opportunity to collaborate with the University of Hartford as well as developing new cost effective and efficient systems for NASA."

The technology is based on higher efficiency substrate design which has been implemented with a wide variety of catalysts and adsorption materials. This offers new capability for existing materials, including for sorbent-enhanced reactions, while preserving the benefit into the future as newer, higher capability catalysts and adsorbents are developed.

Kevin Burns, PCI President, adds,

"Our regenerable design is sorbent-flexible, delivering system benefits of compact and lightweight design, rapid regeneration, and power minimization.  Potential applications include industrial processes, gas drying, gas monitoring, and air cleaning systems. We're looking to explore these applications with others who may have needs in these areas or who may bring useful sorbents or larger systems to which we could add value."

Precision Combustion, Inc. is a clean energy technology company developing and manufacturing catalytic devices and systems for energy sector applications. To learn more, visit www.precision-combustion.com.

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