Lift Gas Cracker

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$599,927.00
Award Year:
2004
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNG04CA07C
Award Id:
66920
Agency Tracking Number:
024102
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A, Lakewood, CO, 80215
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
120561456
Principal Investigator:
Robert Zubrin
Principal Investigator
(303) 980-0890
zubrin@aol.com
Business Contact:
Robert Zubrin
Business Official
(303) 980-0890
zubrin@aol.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
The Lift Gas Cracker (LGC) is a new method for extending the duration of high-altitude scientific balloon flights and for enabling the launch of balloons from remote locations. The LGC produces balloon lift gas by catalytic reforming of methanol to generate hydrogen plus some carbon monoxide and/or carbon dioxide. Pioneer Astronautics prototyped and characterized an LGC system during Phase I. The LGC was demonstrated as a portable lift gas generator for launching meteorological and scientific balloons from remote locations where high-pressure helium is not available. Based on favorable mission analyses conducted during Phase I, the LGC as a method for extending the duration of high-altitude scientific balloon flights will be developed under Phase II. The LGC would operate with an auxiliary buoyancy-control balloon. The LGC produces lift gas by catalytic reforming of methanol at night. During the day, some of the lift gas (predominantly hydrogen) is burned with atmospheric air to produce water. The water ballast can be dropped or can be recycled to the LGC for steam reforming to generate lift gas the following night. These techniques can triple the duration of high-altitude flights compared to conventional methods of dropping ballast at night and venting gas during the day.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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