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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Microchannel Methanation Reactors Using Nanofabricated Catalysts, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Microchannel Methanation Reactors Using Nanofabricated Catalysts, Phase I
Makel Engineering, Inc. (MEI) and the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) propose to develop and demonstrate a microchannel methanation reactor based on nanofabricated catalysts. Sustainable/affordable exploration of space exploration will require minimization of re-supply from Earth by implementation of In-Situ Resources Utilization (ISRU) strategies. For exploration of the Moon, one of the most significant resources is the lunar regolith, which is a complex mix of minerals with large oxygen content in their composition. Oxygen finds its main uses as a propellant, and for life support systems. There are currently many technologies being developed addressing the production of oxygen from lunar regolith, including carbothermal processes. The key to sustainability is to make sure any consumables carried from Earth are recycled to the maximum extent possible, minimizing the need of re-supply. In the case of carbothermal based oxygen production, carbon oxides must be converted to methane for reintroduction in the carbothermal system. This proposed program specifically addresses topic X3.02 Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith, by developing a methanation system that will efficiently convert mixed carbon oxides and hydrogen to methane and water. 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.