Modeling of a Composting System within BIO-Plex 2001-01-2323
BIO-Plex is a ground-based test bed currently under development by NASA for testing technologies and practices that may be utilized in future long-term life support missions. All aspects of such an Advanced Life Support (ALS) System must be considered to confidently construct a reliable system, which will not only allow the crew to survive in harsh environments, but allow the crew time to perform meaningful research. Effective handling of solid wastes is a critical aspect of the system, especially when recovery of resources contained in the waste is required. This is particularly important for ALS Systems configurations that include a Biomass Production Chamber. In these cases, significant amounts of inedible biomass waste may be produced, which can ultimately serve as a repository of necessary resources for sustaining life, notably carbon, water, and plant nutrients.
Numerous biological and physicochemical solid waste processing options have been considered. Biological options include composting, aerobic digestion, and anaerobic digestion. Physicochemical options include pyrolysis, SCWO, various incineration configurations, microwave incineration, magnetically assisted gasification, and low temperature plasma reaction. Modeling of these options is a necessary step to assist in the design process. A previously developed top-level dynamic mass balance model of BIO-Plex implemented in MATLAB® Simulink for the use of systems analysis and design has been adopted for this analysis /4/. Previously, this model only considered incineration for solid waste processing. Present work, reported here, includes the expansion of this model to include a composting system and analysis of this system.