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Center Independent Research & Development: KSC IRAD

Next Generation Hybrid Photo-Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) for Trace Contaminant Control (H-PCO)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is a primary candidate as an alternative to thermal-catalytic or sorbent- based technologies for VOC trace contaminant control due to its low energy demand, operation near room temperatures, and minimal logistic costs. A unique annular adsorption-enhanced Silica-Titania Composite (STC) UV-Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) reactor had been used at KSC to test and understand the interactions of the UV light and STC pellets and to further technological understanding of PCO for real world applications. From these tests a new unique design of a hybrid approach utilizing a PCO reactor and sorbent materials was realized and extensively modeled here at KSC.  The objective of this study is to construct the bench-scale version of this modeled Hybrid PCO reactor and validate its effectiveness in the reduction of trace air contaminates.  If successful, the TRL level will increase from a 2 to a 4 with the manufacturing of scaled prototype of this PCO reactor. 

To validate the efficiency of the modeled hybrid PCO, a bench scale reactor incorporating the modeled geometry, catalyst support medium, and UV-C illumination will be fabricated with technical assistance/engineering support leveraged with UF, private corporations, and the KSC Prototype Shop. The PCO reactor catalysts will be characterized.  A bench scale version of this H-PCO unit will be designed, constructed and then challenged with predominant polar VOC’s, including ethanol, as it constitutes the primary contaminant aboard spacecraft.  The test bed, which includes a Kin-tek VOC generator, a PCO reactor, and an FTIR analyzer, was used successfully in previous PCO studies in the Air Revitalization at KSC, and will be available for validation of the H-PCO reactor efficiency.

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

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