Sierra Lobo provided engineering services to determine the feasibility of developing a Test Facility at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC).

Sierra Lobo evaluated an old mercury cleaning facility located in the RCL test area to determine its suitability to function as an Alternate Fuels Test Facility (ATF), which would support multiple aero programs.

The mercury cleaning facility was a block house with little to no infrastructure. Sierra Lobo performed a preliminary hazard assessment and presented a high-level concept for the test facility and the suitability of the building location and structure to the Area Safety Committee.

Sierra Lobo worked with the GRC Environmental Management Office to determine the remediation needs for the facility prior to modification of the building for the new test facility.

Sierra Lobo then began the design of the initial facility infrastructure needed to support testing, such as powdered cryogenic fuels, Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) and other fuels manufacturing and accessing techniques. This included:

  • Design and installation of basic power, control, data, communication and safety infrastructure
  • Concrete pads and fuel storage areas
  • Special clean room/ fume hood area with very strict environmental temperature and humidity conditions for processing and accessing small quantities of fuel

After completing the AFTF, Sierra Lobo outfitted the facility for future fuels research.

Three F-T reactor trains were designed, fabricated, and integrated within theAlternative Fuels Test Facility at NASA GRC.

These systems are designed to investigate F-T reaction kinetics and product distributions with aviation fuel yields, and their intrinsic properties compared to Jet-A/JP-8 baseline fuels.

Subsystem architecture developed or specified by Sierra Lobo included:

  • Gas feed stock systems for Hydrogen, Carbon Monoxide and inert gases.
  • High Pressure F-T stir reactors
  • Gas and fuel analysis stations
  • Waste gas disposal systems

Sierra Lobo also developed the instrumentation and controls and safety system architecture for these systems.