Environment

Algae Bioreactor Using Submerged Enclosures with Semi-Permeable Membranes

Applications include diesel fuel production, lipid-based chemical production, advanced sewage treatment, and renewable energy.

NASA has invented an innovative method to grow algae, clean wastewater, and capture carbon dioxide to ultimately produce biofuel. The invention consists of floating flexible-plastic enclosures and photo-bioreactors with semi-permeable membranes. This new cultivation system is made of lightweight material and is deployed offshore, avoiding the problems of land costs and competition with other land uses. The surrounding waters provide infrastructure, cooling, and some mixing from wave action. Ideally, this cultivation system is filled with nutrient-rich domestic wastewater and a source of CO2 to promote the growth of algae and to remediate pollution.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water reclamation, Biofuels, Biological sciences, Performance upgrades, Product development
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Three-Band Cloud and Precipitation Radar

After many years of use of Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and CloudSat data, focus groups within the cloud and precipitation science community produced requirements for the next generation of missions. The first draft of Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem mission requirements was formalized in 2009, snowfall observation requirements were documented in 2011, and recently the discussion for the definition of a mission concept called the Cloud and Precipitation Process Mission (CaPPM) has been initiated.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Architecture, Radar, Weather and climate
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Researchers Build Solar-Powered Water Purifier

Using low-cost materials, academics from the University of Buffalo developed a solar-powered water purifier. The device could help to address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies
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System for In-Situ Detection of Plant Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The system can scan the surface of a leaf to quickly detect the presence or absence of TCE without damaging the plant.

In collaboration with the State University of New York and the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a hyperspectral estimator to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) in plants. TCE has been a widely used industrial solvent known to be toxic to humans and animals. Although its use and disposal have become more restricted in recent years, TCE is one of the more prevalent groundwater contaminants in the United States. Current methods exist to identify the locations of TCE at contaminated sites; however, these methods typically require destructive sampling techniques as well as time-consuming and expensive laboratory analysis. In contrast, the hyperspectral estimator is being designed as a nondestructive, quick, and lower-cost way to screen for TCE across large areas. It works by using spectral signatures to determine the presence/absence of TCE in the leaves of plants that may have absorbed the contaminant from surrounding groundwater.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water pollution, Chemicals, Hazardous materials, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Time-Shifted PN Codes for CW LIDAR, RADAR, and SONAR

Algorithm eliminates channel interference and artifacts from lidar return signals.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a waveform processing technique to eliminate signal noise resulting from sources of interference (scatterers) that can degrade continuous wave (CW) lidar return data. The algorithm was developed to enable CW lidar measurement of atmospheric gas concentrations as part of NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program, but can be used to test any chemical species, such as poison gas or other trace elements in the atmosphere. The algorithm demonstrated reduction in interference resulting from thin cloud layers and other scatterers. The improvement holds the potential for significant advancement of CW lidar systems that are less expensive, of simpler design, and can be operated at higher average power than pulsed lidar systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Mathematical models, Lidar, Radar, Emissions measurement, Noise
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Data Informatics Infrastructure for the Megacities Carbon Project

With the goal of assessing the anthropogenic carbon-emission impact of urban centers on local and global climates, the Megacities Carbon Project has been building carbon-monitoring capabilities for the past two years around the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a pilot effort. Hundreds of megabytes of data are generated daily and distributed among data centers local to the sensor networks involved. These remotely generated data are then aggregated into a centralized data infrastructure located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide collaboration opportunities on the data as well as generate refined data products through centralized data processing pipelines.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Data exchange, Remote sensing, Emissions measurement, Data management, Globalization
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Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for Paints

A safe and effective method for removing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for treating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is offering companies licensing or partnering opportunities in the development of this innovative remediation technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Metals, Hazardous materials
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Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engines and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that constitute volcanic ash are about the size of sand and silt. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet. The upper winds transport the particles away to eventual dispersal in an ash cloud. Ash clouds typically form above 20,000 feet, but the lower limit of the initial cloud depends on both the height of the volcanic vent and the vigor with which material is ejected from it.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Sensors and actuators, Particulate matter (PM), Hazardous materials
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System Recycles and Purifies Large Volumes of Helium for SLS

Helium reclamation system VACCO Industries South El Monte, CA 626-443-7121www.VACCO.com

Recyling and purifying high-flow helium allows uninterrupted testing of high-volume, high-pressure-drop Space Launch System (SLS) main engine purge regulators and relief valves. Large-scale helium reclamation is a process that purifies used atmospheric-pressure helium to mil-spec levels, and compresses it to high pressures for reuse in component testing. The key is cryogenic purification with a molecular sieve to remove water, volatile organic compounds, oxygen, nitrogen, and other impurities to achieve 99.995% pure helium.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Recycling Technologies, Recycling, Gases, Launch vehicles
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Adhesives and Joining Methods in Land Transportation

The first in a three-part series, this White Paper discusses adhesives and joining methods in land transportation.

Topics covered include:

Common joining methods Joining considerations and reliability factors Materials use and dissimilar materials considerations Land transportation market – growth, drivers, applications Regulatory requirements
Posted in: White Papers, Green Design & Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials
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