Methane Pyrolysis for Hydrogen & Carbon Nanotube Recovery from Sabatier Products
Development of a microgravity and hypogravity compatible catalytic methane pyrolysis reactor is proposed to recover hydrogen which is lost as methane in the conversion of carbon dioxide to water via the Sabatier process. This will close the hydrogen loop which currently requires 50% resupply and also produce carbon nanotubes, a high value product which may be employed as an adsorbent or catalyst for removal of atmospheric trace contaminants, thus further lowering the resupply burden for manned spacecraft. Microgravity compatibility of Gradient Magnetically Assisted Fluidized Beds (GMAFB) has been demonstrated through a series of KC135 flight experiments. Metallic cobalt, which has been fluidized in microgravity using the GMAFB method, is an excellent catalyst for promotion of methane pyrolysis. Recently, fluidized bed catalytic methods have been shown to efficiently recover hydrogen, and produce single walled carbon nanotubes. Using the GMAFB method, this process can be rendered totally compatible with operation in the microgravity of spaceflight or the reduced gravity of planetary environments. By recovering all of the hydrogen which is lost as methane in the Sabatier reactor, the requirement for production or resupply of hydrogen is reduced to the absolute minimum.
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Umpqua Research Company
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