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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Non-Thermal Plasma Recovery of Hydrogen from Sabatier Waste Methane

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Non-Thermal Plasma Recovery of Hydrogen from Sabatier Waste Methane
Effective methods for recovery and regeneration of cabin atmosphere to supply oxygen are critical to facilitate extended duration manned missions including expeditions to Mars or a return to the Moon. Currently, oxygen is recovered as water using the Sabatier reduction process. One of the by-products of this reaction is waste methane, which is vented into space. Lynntech proposes to reclaim the hydrogen from the methane by utilizing a low power, high efficiency, non-thermal plasma (NTP) process based on high frequency dielectric barrier discharge (HFDBD). The HFDBD is characterized by electrons and heavy particles being in thermodynamic non-equilibrium. The electron temperatures are near 10,000K, while the ions and neutrals species remain at ambient temperature. The high energy electrons have the potential to recover up to 75% of the hydrogen from methane. Since the majority of the electrical energy in the discharge is used to accelerate electrons rather than heat the plasma gas, Lynntech's process produces minimal soot. Hence, a complex filtration system to remove soot from the exhaust stream is not required. Recovery of hydrogen from methane minimizes the hydrogen resupply requirements and improves the efficiency of the Sabatier process by closing the mass loop of the reduction reaction. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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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.