BOSTON, January 7, 2009 – Reactive Innovations, LLC (RIL) of Westford, MA has been awarded a contract from the NASA Glenn Research Center to develop a reactive-separator unit for processing lunar regolith streams. NASA’s plans for a lunar habitation outpost call out for process technologies to separate hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide gases from regolith product gas streams. A low-pressure drop separation unit is needed to remove these sulfur compounds from regolith process streams that is compact and lightweight. To this end, Reactive Innovations will develop an electrochemical reactive-separation unit to selectively bind and remove the sulfur compounds into a separated stream of sulfur-based compounds. During this contract, Reactive Innovations will develop and demonstrate an electrochemical reactive-separation platform that binds sulfur compounds via a charge transfer process to a redox carrier that is subsequently transported across a membrane separator releasing the sulfur components. In this effort, RIL will demonstrate the redox carrier for binding and releasing sulfur components, develop and assess electrodes that are corrosion resistant to the sulfur compounds, and culminate with a prototype reactive-separator unit design and evaluation for removing sulfur components from regolith streams.
Specific uses of Reactive Innovations’ lunar regolith reactive-separator for NASA are directed toward the removal of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide from regolith process streams. The continuous removal of these compounds in a lightweight and efficient reactive-separator unit will enable regolith to be processed continuously for lunar habitation development. Commercial applications of this reactive-separation unit may find applications in processing and removing sulfur-based compounds from exhaust streams including automotive gasoline and diesel engine exhausts and coal-fired utility operations and burners. The low-pressure drop design of the reactive-separator unit in a compact and lightweight design would lessen the impact of removing sulfur on the engine and combustion efficiency.