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Advanced Carbothermal Electric Reactor

Award Information

Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
094585
Solicitation Year:
2009
Solicitation Topic Code:
X3.01
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITE
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Advanced Carbothermal Electric Reactor
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CB54C
Award Amount: $600,000.00
 

Abstract:

The overall objective of the Phase 1 effort was to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the Advanced Carbothermal Electric (ACE) Reactor concept. Unlike state-of-the-art carbothermal reactors that use concentrated solar energy and/or laser energy to heat the regolith, the ACE Reactor uses an innovative method to electrically heat the regolith to temperatures over 1800ºC within a thermally insulted environment, either with or without a crucible. Commercial high-temperature heating elements made from molybdenum disilicide (MoSi2) are designed to only operate in oxidizing atmospheres where a protective layer of silicon dioxide (SiO2) will form. In Phase 1, the ACE reactor used MoSi2 heating elements with a protective coating to allow them to operate in any type of environment (oxidizing, reducing, or vacuum). The ACE Reactor concept eliminates the problems encountered with traditional carbothermal hot-wall reactors and offers significant advantages over current carbothermal reactor approaches. By eliminating the need for a concentrated solar energy system, the ACE reactor offers a significantly lowers system mass and removes the need to keep optical surfaces clean. In addition to efficiently producing oxygen, the ACE reactor separates the processed regolith into metallic iron and a silicate glass that can be formed into structural components or shielding materials.

Principal Investigator:

Robert J. Gustafson
Principal Investigator
6082292725
gustafsonr@orbitec.com

Business Contact:

Eric E. Rice
CEO
6086082760
knaufs@orbitec.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Technologies Corporation
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive Madison, WI -

EIN/Tax ID: 391628664
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No