TITLE: System/Method for Onboard Engine and Bleed Air Detoxification
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air
Platform, Chemical/Biological Defense, Human Systems
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-265
F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet
OBJECTIVE: Develop a
non-chemical / non-electrical discharge means of breaking down (detoxifying)
toxic hydrocarbons in aircraft breathing air systems containing toxic
hydrocarbons from absorbing aerosols, vapors from organic compounds and
organophosphates in engine lubricants.
DESCRIPTION: Incidents have
occurred where Navy F/A-18 pilots have experienced symptoms such as shortness
of breath, disorientation, confusion, and headaches during flights with no
clear cause identified. In order to reduce or prevent these symptoms, there is
a need to improve cabin air quality and remove bleed air contaminants in the
F/A-18 aircraft, thus eliminating adverse effects on the health of the pilots.
The aircraft utilizes engine bleed air that is filtered through an on-board
oxygen generating systems (OBOGS) to provide the oxygen supply for pilots. The
OBOGS uses a molecular sieve to concentrate oxygen in pressurized air from the
turbine engine compressor, on a schedule associated with aircraft altitude, in
order to compensate for the decrease in oxygen partial pressure and to protect
the pilot against rapid decompression. Since the bleed air intake occurs in
real-time, decomposition and filtering of volatile organic compounds,
organophosphates, and other bleed air contaminants would improve the air
quality and allow the aircrews to perform their missions without any
deleterious effects to their health.
The F/A-18 aircraft is extremely limited in terms of available space and
weight, so size, weight, and power (SWaP) are important parameters. A chemical
solution would add maintenance cost and the need for additional storage space
for the consumable chemicals. An electrical discharge system will not be
considered as this system is in a high-oxygen, low-humidity environment that
may experience rapid pressure changes.
An optical sources solution to this problem is to use specific wavelengths that
target these hydrocarbon bonds. The optical source size should not be greater
than 15 cubic inches, should not weigh more than 16 ounces, and should not
consume more than 200 Watts of power. By using an optical field that is
resonant to the molecular bonds of these hydrocarbons, these bonds can be
disassociated into less toxic constituents that can then be collected by
onboard filters. Breaking these hydrocarbon bonds into smaller constituents
such as CO2 and CO would be the ideal case because filters are readily
available on the aircraft. The table below shows disassociation energies for
common chemical bonds in organic substances is shown below. The goal of this
approach is to break the double bonds of Carbon Carbon to where its
concentration is less than 0.4 ppm.
Dissociation Energies for Interatomic Bonds in Organic Substances
Dissociation Energy Maximum Wavelength for:
Chemical Bond_____UV Dose[kcal/gmol]_______Dissociation [nm]
N-H (NH)_____________ 85.0_________________336.4
Proposers should provide a means of generating an optical field that will
perform the photo-disassociation of carbon and phosphates molecules.
Additionally, proposers should demonstrate that their techniques will reduce
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentration within an acceptable limit for
sustained flight operation as outlined in MIL-SPEC 27210, Performance
Specification: Oxygen, Aviator’s Breathing, Liquid and Gas [Ref 10]. The
product/system resulting from this SBIR effort would produce a high flow rate
of purified air that does not degrade over time and is easy to maintain.
PHASE I: Design and
demonstrate the feasibility of an optical field of sufficient intensity at the
correct wavelength that will perform the photo-disassociation of volatile
organic compounds and organophosphates. Determine the amount of the VOC and
organophosphates that are broken down into other constituents. Demonstrate the
way to deal with different velocity classes of the VOC and organophosphates.
Develop Phase II plans.
PHASE II: Design, build, and
demonstrate a prototype system that can be dropped into an operational
environment such as F/A-18 aircraft. Provide interface, power, and form factor
specifications. Create a test plan to demonstrate system performance for
various test conditions such as high flow rates, high temperature, and high
humidity [Ref 10].
Successful completion of Phase II will require: (1) a ground test demonstration
with experimental temperature ranges of 200°C to 600°C for real-time
measurement to quantify the decomposition of constituents in turbine engine
exhaust products. Provide a list of specific target compounds and chemical
classes; and (2) a demonstration of the 'proof-of-concept' that the system can
break down VOC particulates.
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Assist the Navy in transitioning the technology to the fleet.
Follow-on activities including Government and civilian uses, could be: (1)
reduction of contamination in liquids and gases, such as in municipal drinking
water supplies; (2) ultrapure water filtering systems for industrial processing
and pharmaceutical manufacturing; (3) water and reagents for use in
experimentation; and (4) gases used in sterile rooms. The product/system
resulting from this SBIR effort would be able to reduce or eliminate the need
for chemical aerosols, chemical preservatives, and microfiltration for the
treatment of liquids and/or gases. There is a growing demand for improvements
in hospital settings to reduce the transmission of pathogens. This demand is
driven by hospitals that must deal with increasing cases of infections, not
caused by the patient's diagnosis upon admission, but rather due to airborne
pathogens that exist in a hospital environment. These airborne pathogens pose
additional health risks to patients and result in additional costs to the
hospital. Successful system development would reduce or remove airborne
contaminants/pathogens, in the presence of a person/people when the cockpit/hospital
room is occupied.
1. Centers, P.W. “Potential
neurotoxin formation in thermally degraded synthetic ester turbine lubricants”.
Archives of Toxicology, 1992, 66(9), 679-680. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1482292
2. Liyasova, M., Li, B., et
al. “Exposure to tri-o-cresyl phosphate detected in jet airplane passengers”.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2011, 256(3), 337-347. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21723309
3. Megson, D., Ortiz, X., et
al. “A comparison of fresh and used aircraft oil for the identification of
toxic substances linked to aerotoxic syndrome”. Chemosphere, 2016, 158,
4. Michaelis, S.
“Contaminated aircraft cabin air”. Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry,
2011, 11, 132-145. http://www.itcoba.net/24MI11A.pdf
5. Neer, A., Andress, J.R.,
Haney, R.L., and Mathison, L.C. “Preliminary investigation into thermal
degradation behavior of mobil jet oil II”. 41st International Conference on
Environmental Systems, Portland, Oregon, 2011, 17-21, DOI: 10.2514/6.2011-5110.
6. Overfelt, R.A., Jones,
B.W., Loo, S.M., et al. “Sensors and prognostics to mitigate bleed air
contamination events”. Airliner Cabin Environmental Research, 2012 Report No.
7. Ramsden, J.J. “Jet engine
oil consumption as a surrogate for measuring chemical contamination in aircraft
cabin air”. Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, 2013, 13, 114-118. http://www.oprus2001.co.uk/11RA13L.pdf
8. Winder, C. and Balouet,
J.C. “The toxicity of commercial jet oils”. Environmental Research, 2002,
89(2), 146-164. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12123648
9. Bakthisaran, S. “The
application of UV technology to pharmaceutical water treatment." European
Journal of Parenteral Sciences, 1998, 3(4), pp. 97-102.
10. MIL-PRF-27210H. (2009)
“Performance Specification: Oxygen, Aviator’s Breathing, Liquid and Gas”. http://everyspec.com/MIL-PRF/MIL-PRF-010000-29999/MIL-PRF-27210H_32996/
KEYWORDS: Bleed Air; OBOGS;
Ultraviolet; Organic; Contaminants; Wavelength
** TOPIC NOTICE **
These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on April 20, 2018, which opens to receive proposals on May 22, 2018, and closes June 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.
Between April 20, 2018 and May 21, 2018 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 22, 2018 when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.
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