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Hydrogen Recovery by ECR Plasma Pyrolysis of Methane

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNM07AA14C
Agency Tracking Number: 053415
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: X12.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2005
Award Year: 2007
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2006-12-04
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2008-11-30
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 609, Myrtle Creek, OR, 97457-0102
DUNS: 068766781
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Atwater
 Principal Investigator
 (541) 863-2652
Business Contact
 John Aker
Title: Business Official
Phone: (541) 863-2655
Research Institution
Development of a microgravity and hypogravity compatible microwave plasma 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. Efficient production of hydrogen from methane was conclusively demonstrated during Phase I using microwave plasmas with power levels ranging between 50 - 120 W. In the plasma reactor, formation and deposition of solid phase elemental carbon was shown to be far less problematic than for current methods of catalytic methane decomposition in fixed bed and fluidized bed reactors. This new technology has strong potential for continuous hydrogen production over extended time periods, with minimal maintenance and operator intervention. Microwave plasmas produce extremely high temperatures localized within very small volumes, resulting in low overall power requirements. Microwave plasmas also produce minimal thermal effects on downstream piping and other system components. These features provide the basis for a small, light, and low power method for hydrogen reclamation. 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.

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

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