Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-2292
2001-07-09

Methane Pyrolysis to Close the ECLS Hydrogen Loop 2001-01-2292

For long duration manned space missions an advanced ECLSS is required to recycle all consumables to a maximum extend possible.
Recycling of oxygen out of the atmosphere in a crewed spacecraft is more important the longer the duration of the mission (ISS, Moon, Mars).
On behalf of ESA, an air revitalization technology, to reclaim the oxygen from metabolically produced carbon dioxide, was developed in a step-wise approach since 1985.
Herein, the air revitalization system technology demonstrator ( ARSD ), designed for a crew of 3 man, was built and successfully tested in a closed chamber for about 600 hours. (/1/)
The current concept of the ARSD leads still to a considerable loss of hydrogen, due to the production of methane, which is currently vented.
In order to close the hydrogen loop in the air revitalization system, a study was performed to demonstrate the feasibility to decompose methane, reclaim the hydrogen and dispose the deposited carbon. For this purpose a breadboard model of a pyrolysis reactor was developed and tested.
This paper presents the results of the tests of the breadboarded methane pyrolysis assembly (MPA ) and a system assessment with respect to the required consumables, resupply and mass savings by closing this way the hydrogen loop.

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