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Methane Post-Processing and Hydrogen Separation for Spacecraft Oxygen Loop ClosureState-of-the-art life support oxygen recovery technology on the International Space Station is based on the Sabatier reaction where only about half of the oxygen required for the crew is recovered from metabolic carbon dioxide (CO2). The Sabatier reaction produces water as the primary product and methane as a byproduct. Oxygen recovery is constrained by both the limited availability of reactant hydrogen from water electrolysis and Sabatier methane (CH4) being vented as a waste product resulting in a continuous loss of reactant hydrogen. Post-processing methane with the Plasma Pyrolysis Assembly (PPA) to recover this hydrogen has the potential to substantially increase oxygen recovery and thus dramatically reduce the logistical challenges associated with oxygen resupply. The PPA decomposes methane into predominantly hydrogen and acetylene. A purification system is necessary to purify hydrogen before it is recycled back to the Sabatier reactor. Testing and evaluation of acetylene removal systems and PPA system architectures are presented and discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Greenwood, Zachary W.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Abeny, Morgan B.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Wall, Terry
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Miller, Lee A.
(Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Wheeler, Richard R., Jr.
(Umpqua Research Co. Myrtle Creek, OR, United States)
Date Acquired
September 22, 2017
Publication Date
July 16, 2017
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Conference on Environmental Systems
Location: Charleston, SC
Country: United States
Start Date: July 16, 2017
End Date: July 20, 2017
Sponsors: International Conference On Environmental Systems, Inc.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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