Project Code: 18105
Project Title: NASA Challenge: Conversion of CO2 to Glucose
Project Type: Faculty
Project Intellectual Property: University Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No
Sponsor Company: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Description: A nonbiological process and scalable apparatus were developed using physicochemical and catalytic reaction to produce selected carbon-based sugar molecules using only carbon dioxide as a carbon source. The process consists of a multi-step reaction pathway in which carbon dioxide molecules are photochemically converted to formaldehyde, and then catalyzed via a formose reaction scheme to produce four to seven carbon sugars. Complex sugars such as D-glucose and six-carbon sugars (hexoses) are most useful to NASA, so the process includes a separation phase in which six-and seven-carbon chains are output as products and smaller molecules are recycled as substrates to the formose reaction to form longer carbon chains. Multiple design alternatives were evaluated to determine which reaction conditions produced the greatest yield and efficiency. The system was designed to have low power, mass and volume requirements, and to be feasible for future space missions.