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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Helium-Hydrogen Recovery System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Helium-Hydrogen Recovery System
Immense quantities of expensive liquefied helium are required at Stennis and Kennedy Space Centers for pre-cooling rocket engine propellant systems prior to filling with liquid hydrogen, for pressurizing tanks and for safely purging residual hydrogen. Presently, the helium used in these processes is discarded, along with substantial quantities of hydrogen. TDA Research proposes to design and build a compact, portable and cost effective membrane system for recovering, purifying and storing both helium and hydrogen. Recovered helium containing less than a few percent residual hydrogen can be re-used as a purge gas. The ultrapure hydrogen recovered concurrently may be burned as fuel or used to generate clean electricity in fuel cells. The performance of these high selectivity membranes has been demonstrated and is ready for implementation to solve this problem. In Phase I we will fabricate membranes and assess their performance by processing a simulated purge gas stream and determining the purities of the helium and hydrogen. We will also carry out a detailed engineering feasibility and cost analysis to determine the technical viability of scaling up the process in Phase II. TDA's system will help NASA conserve valuable hydrogen and the United State's rapidly dwindling and expensive non-renewable helium resource. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.