Advanced Carbothermal Electric Reactor

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CB54C
Agency Tracking Number: 094585
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: X3.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
WI, Madison, WI, 53717-1961
DUNS: 196894869
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Gustafson
 Principal Investigator
 (608) 229-2725
 gustafsonr@orbitec.com
Business Contact
 Eric Rice
Title: CEO
Phone: (608) 608-2760
Email: knaufs@orbitec.com
Research Institution
 Stub
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 ACEreactor 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.

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

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government