Photocatalysis is a process in which light energy is used to ‘activate’ oxidation/reduction reactions. Unmodified titanium dioxide (TiO2), a common photocatalyst, requires high-energy UV light for activation due to its large band gap (3.2 eV). Modification of TiO2 can reduce this band gap, leading to visible-light-responsive (VLR) photocatalysts. These catalysts can utilize solar and/or visible wavelength LED lamps as an activation source, replacing mercury-containing UV lamps, to create a “greener,” more energy-efficient means for air and water revitalization. Recently, KSC developed several VLR catalysts that, on preliminary evaluation, possessed high catalytic activity within the visible spectrum; these samples out-performed existing commercial VLR catalysts.
Develop rugged reactor test bed for catalyst testing with exchangeable light sources.
Optimize KSC-developed VLR-catalysts to treat recalcitrant trace contaminants found in closed-loop air systems such as ISS.
Advance TRL to align with AES goals for FY16/17 scale-up testing.
The knowledge gained from this research will inform continued advancements in trace contaminant control. The research will provide insight on the ability to utilize visible-light-induced photocatalysis for the safe removal of volatile organic chemicals. This project will advance a much needed remediation technology, throught the following tasks:
Task 1: Development of reactor test bed and LED array.
Task 2: Optimization and testing of top-performing catalysts.
Task 3: Physical characterization of catalysts.
Task 4: Evaluation of technology for validation in relevant environments such as HISEAS or similar.More »
Return on Investment:
Multiple commercial applications for fresh fruit/vegetable preservation, air purification, water purification, possible antimicrobial technology.
Possible patentable technology (multiple New Technology Reports will be filed on this work).
Ability for KSC to garner funding from Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) for future testing of technology.
Continued development of VLR-PCO systems will pave the way to a future standard for trace contaminant control in aerospace crew cabins. This project will reduce the complexity (no ballasts), life cycle costs (longer lamp life/lower disposal costs), and environmental impact (no Hg; less power) of existing PCO systems, while increasing the reliability (LEDs) and safety (no UV or Hg) of such systems.
Photocatalysis of trace gas contaminants is only one application for this technology. Utilizing data gathered from this study, these VLR catalysts could also be used to treat water contaminants (e.g., endocrine disruptors), and problems involving microbial contamination in air, water, and food. The spaceflight applications go well beyond trace contaminant control in crew cabins (e.g., ethylene control in future plant production life support systems), but the real societal benefits are likely to come from the diverse commercial applications of the technology.
This technology has the potential for more efficient, safer trace contaminant control in spacecraft which will benefit the commercial space industry.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Kennedy Space Center (KSC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Kennedy Space Center, FL|
|Engineering Services Contract||Supporting Organization||Industry|
|Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)||Supporting Organization||NASA Center||Huntsville, AL|
|University of Central Florida (UCF)||Industry|