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SBIR/STTR

Modular Distributed Concentrator for Solar Furnace, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Modular Distributed Concentrator for Solar Furnace, Phase II
This research proposes to develop the technology needed to implement a solar-fired regolith processing system at a lunar outpost that achieves low mass, high performance, easy assembly, operation and maintenance, and durability. The Modular Distributed Concentrator (MDC) comprises an array of identical, smaller-sized solar concentrator dishes with a network of power transmission links that route the high quality concentrated energy to a centralized receiver and avoids the challenges of deploying large concentrators with furnace chambers suspended at their focus. The Phase I showed the ability to optimize the concentrator reflector scale to provide low mass, showed that the heat pipe approach had better figures of merit than the optical waveguide approach, and, as a proof-of-concept, used a terrestrial solar concentrator to fire a sodium heat pipe to transmit heat at 1000C. The Phase II effort proposes to establish a system design for a MDC / heat-pipe based carbothermal processing system which requires >1625C process heat. We develop and demonstrate the components needed to deliver heat at this temperature with high performance, using space quality materials, including concentrator, concentrator receiver, tungsten/lithium heat pipe, and an innovative Heat Pipe Thermal Interface (HPTI) that most effectively transfers the power directly into the regolith. The Phase II includes an end-to-end demonstration of all of the subsystems, collecting and concentrating solar energy, transmitting it at >1625C, through the heat pipe and HPTI into the regolith, and extracting oxygen from regolith simulant in an existing process chamber. More »

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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.

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