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Technical Paper

An Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Reduction of metabolic carbon dioxide is one of the essential steps in physiochemical air revitalization for long-duration manned space missions. Under contract with NASA Johnson Space Center, Hamilton Standard is developing an Advanced Carbon Reactor Subsystem (ACRS) to produce water and dense solid carbon from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The ACRS essentially consists of a Sabatier Methanation Reactor (SMR) to reduce carbon dioxide with hydrogen to methane and water, a gas-liquid separator to remove product water from the methane, and a Carbon Formation Reactor (CFR) to pyrolyze methane to carbon and hydrogen. The hydrogen is recycled to the SMR, while the produce carbon is periodically removed from the CFR. The SMR is well-developed, while the CFR is under development. In this paper, the fundamentals of the SMR and CFR processes are presented and results of Breadboard CFR testing are reported.
Technical Paper

Initial Development and Performance Evaluation of a Process for Formation of Dense Carbon by Pyrolysis of Methane

Breathing oxygen supply for long-duration manned space missions such as the NASA Space Station may be generated by electrolysis of water produced by the reaction of metabolic carbon dioxide and hydrogen in a Sabatier Methanation Reactor (SMR). A Space Station probable restriction on venting of carbonaceous gases to space will require onboard management of SMR product methane. This may be accomplished via methane decomposition to hydrogen and carbon. The hydrogen could be recycled to the SMR and the carbon would be stored onboard. Under contract with the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), Hamilton Standard is currently developing a Carbon Formation Reactor (CFR) that decomposes methane to gaseous hydrogen and dense solid carbon via high temperature pyrolysis. In this paper, the fundamentals of methane pyrolysis to carbon are described and the results of CFR development efforts to date are presented.