Modular Distributed Concentrator for Solar Furnace

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNC08CA10C
Agency Tracking Number: 067016
Amount: $599,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: X4.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
7740 Kenamar Court, San Diego, CA, 92121-2425
DUNS: 838266369
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Theodore Stern
 Principal Investigator
 (858) 677-1230
Business Contact
 Steven Sherman
Title: VP, Business Administration
Phone: (858) 677-1226
Research Institution
This research proposes to develop the technology needed to implement a solar-fired regolith processing system at a lunar outpost that achieves low mass, high performance, easy assembly, operation and maintenance, and durability. The Modular Distributed Concentrator (MDC) comprises an array of identical, smaller-sized solar concentrator dishes with a network of power transmission links that route the high quality concentrated energy to a centralized receiver and avoids the challenges of deploying large concentrators with furnace chambers suspended at their focus. The Phase I showed the ability to optimize the concentrator reflector scale to provide low mass, showed that the heat pipe approach had better figures of merit than the optical waveguide approach, and, as a proof-of-concept, used a terrestrial solar concentrator to fire a sodium heat pipe to transmit heat at 1000C. The Phase II effort proposes to establish a system design for a MDC / heat-pipe based carbothermal processing system which requires >1625C process heat. We develop and demonstrate the components needed to deliver heat at this temperature with high performance, using space quality materials, including concentrator, concentrator receiver, tungsten/lithium heat pipe, and an innovative Heat Pipe Thermal Interface (HPTI) that most effectively transfers the power directly into the regolith. The Phase II includes an end-to-end demonstration of all of the subsystems, collecting and concentrating solar energy, transmitting it at >1625C, through the heat pipe and HPTI into the regolith, and extracting oxygen from regolith simulant in an existing process chamber.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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