Evaluation and Performance of a Regenerable Porous Metal Alloy Filter to Remove Carbon Particulates from a Plasma Pyrolysis Reactor Effluent



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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


NASA is exploring a microwave-based plasma pyrolysis technology to increase oxygen recovery and advance loop closure of life support systems on the International Space Station (ISS) and future manned spacecraft. The Plasma Pyrolysis Assembly (PPA) serves to pyrolyze methane produced from the Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA) into acetylene and hydrogen. A small amount of solid carbon dust is generated that must be filtered before the acetylene is removed and the hydrogen-rich gas stream is recycled back to the CRA. A custom designed filter and housing made from high temperature alloy steel was designed and tested at NASA for its carbon capturing performance from the PPA effluent. The filter consists of seven tubular filter elements made from porous sintered steel, the same steel as in the housing, soldered onto a partition plate on the inside of the cylindrical filter housing. The filtration rated of the tubular filters is 10 µm but the thickness of the tube walls allows for a degree of depth filtration to capture smaller particles. The tolerance to high temperatures, up to 750 ⁰C, permits the high temperature oxidation of the captured carbon during a regeneration phase of operation. The filter has been integrated to the PPA under simulated operating conditions and has undergone several short carbon loading tests of 8 and 20-hour tests, and a long duration test of 100 hour. In this work, we present the experimental results and analysis of performance from these tests.


Juan Agui, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Cara Black, Sigma Space Corporation, US
Jacob Jones, GeoControl Systems, Inc., US
Gordon Berger, Universities Space Research Association, US
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization Systems -Technology and Process Development
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Plasma pyrolysis assembly, Carbon dust, Filter