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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system, Phase II
The Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system produces water and hydrogen-rich syngas for propellant production, life support consumables, and manufacturing from in-situ resources in support of advanced space exploration. The CAVoR thermally extracts ice and water bound to clay minerals, which is then combined with small amounts of oxygen to gasify organic matter contained in carbonaceous chondrite asteroids. In addition to water, CAVoR produces hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide that comprise precursors to produce oxygen for propellant and breathing gas and to produce organic compounds including fuels such as methane when integrated with a downstream methanation-electrolysis. Thermochemical production of hydrogen by CAVoR results in substantial reductions in electrolysis mass and power requirements compared to combustion-based volatile recovery methods. A conceptual Phase II continuous flow auger reactor design was based on successful Phase I batch reactor operations. Phase II advancements will include reactor seal designs to accommodate regolith simulant feeding and discharging while collaborations will be developed to aid the infusion of the CAVoR system into a conceptual asteroid resource utilization mission plan. More »

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