A High Efficiency Magnetic Activated Sludge Reactor for Wastewater Processing 1999-01-1945
Technologies for the recycling of water are a primary goal of NASA’s advanced life support programs. Biological processes have been identified as an attractive method for wastewater processing. A fundamental new bioreactor based on a traditional activated sludge process is demonstrated that treats hygiene wastewater using magnetic iron oxide particles agglomerated with microbial cells. In this bioreactor, microbes are suspended in magnetic flocs in a wastewater medium. Instead of a traditional gravity separator used in activated sludge operations, a magnetic separator removes the microbial flocs from the outlet stream. The reactor separation operates continuously, independent of gravitational influences. The reactor has been able to simultaneously remove 98% of high levels of both nitrogenous and organic carbon impurities from the wastewater as well as achieve acceptably low levels of total suspended solids. This reactor provides size and weight advantages and potentially can eliminate many difficulties of using bioreactors in regenerative life support systems in space.