Thermally Stable Catalytic Combustors for Very High Altitude Airbreathing Propulsion

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CG65P
Agency Tracking Number: 104347
Amount: $99,964.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: A2.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
MA, Cambridge, MA, 02142-1189
DUNS: 604717165
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Dr. James Sisco
 Principal Investigator
 (617) 500-4835
Business Contact
 Scott Hart
Title: Financial Analyst
Phone: (617) 500-0536
Research Institution
Aerospace vehicles operating at high altitudes have the potential to be less expensive and more versatile alternatives to space based systems for earth/space science, communications, and surveillance. However, the operational flexibility of these vehicles is limited by the performance of the propulsion system. In gas turbine systems low temperatures and pressures at the combustor inlet are of concern for combustion stability and efficiency at high altitudes. The overall objective of the proposed work is to assess the feasibility of developing a high performance airbreathing combustor for hydrogen-fueled very high altitude aircraft by promoting stable combustion using thermally stable catalytic reactor technology. Our combustor concept baselines the use of strontium-substituted hexaaluminate catalyst supports, which are resilient to temperatures greater than 1500 K. In Phase I an active catalyst that provides high reactivity with hydrogen at representative conditions will be identified through laboratory testing. An empirical model of catalyst reactivity will be developed and integrated with a reactor model to produce a conceptual design of a full scale combustor for a defined very high altitude gas turbine system. The catalytic rector that will be developed through this effort represents a new, enabling technology that will dramatically increase the flexibility of aerospace vehicles.

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

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