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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Regenerative Bosch Reactor

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Regenerative Bosch Reactor
Oxygen (O2) contained within waste carbon dioxide (CO2) is a vital resource during long-duration, manned missions that must be reclaimed by Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) hardware. Current CO2 reduction technology to recapture oxygen as water utilizes the Sabatier reaction, in which, two moles of water and one mole of methane are produced for each mole of CO2 reduced. Unfortunately, only half of the hydrogen consumed in the reaction can be recovered by water electrolysis. In contrast, the Bosch reaction produces water and elemental carbon, recovering all hydrogen consumed and closing the O2 - CO2 reduction loop. Previous experience has shown the primary problem with the Bosch reaction is carbon production, which deactivates the catalyst and eventually plugs the reactor. An innovative Regenerative Bosch Reactor (RBR) is proposed to overcome this problem, in which, a bed of small spherical ferromagnetic catalyst beads is periodically agitated using mechanical or magnetic forces to abrade carbon from the catalyst surface. Carbon is expelled from the RBR by the gas stream and collected downstream. The Phase I project will demonstrate catalyst regeneration. A prototype RBR will be designed, assembled, and thoroughly tested during the Phase II program providing NASA with a test bed for independent evaluation. The RBR will improve atmosphere loop closure and lower the ESM for CO2 reduction by recovering all of the hydrogen reductant. 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.