BOSTON, November 18, 2007 – A contract was awarded to Reactive Innovations, LLC from NASA to develop a high pressure oxygen concentrator. NASA desires to generate and store gases including oxygen and nitrogen at sub-critical conditions as a part of its lunar and spacecraft atmospheric systems. Oxygen at pressures up to 3000 psia is particularly desired for refilling storage tanks for lunar and in-flight applications including recharging high-pressure gas bottles for EVA/EMU, lunar rovers and surface hoppers, and lunar chemical process reactors requiring oxygen as a reactant. To address these needs, Reactive Innovations, LLC will be developing a compact high-pressure oxygen concentrator that can take low-pressure atmospheric gas and generate a separate stream of high-pressure pure oxygen. This concentrator will be based on modifications to Reactive Innovations’ high-pressure reactor hardware to compress and separate an oxygen stream up to 3000 psia from an ambient air source containing nitrogen and oxygen. In concert with this reactor development, a predictive performance model is also being developed for the oxygen concentrator to allow NASA mission planners to conduct trade studies on metrics including the generated oxygen rate per compressor mass and power requirements.
Applications of this technology to NASA include generating oxygen for sub-critical storage on lunar habitats and within spacecraft environments. This technology will enable pressurized oxygen up to 3000 psia to be used for applications where cryogenic storage is not feasible or desired. Furthermore, NASA desires to use re-configurable modules that can function in dual-use or multi-use systems in these habitation environments. Commercial applications for the oxygen concentrator include portable oxygen generators for hospital and home therapy medical applications, on-site oxygen production for industrial and manufacturing needs, and on-board oxygen generation for aircraft.