Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-01-2465
2004-07-19

Design and Initial Tests of a Denitrification Composter to Stabilize Space-Mission Trash 2004-01-2465

The purpose of this research is to determine the feasibility of a unique denitrifying composter to stabilize trash from space-habitation (STS, ISS, ALS) life support activities. Design criteria were derived from variables to be manipulated and those to be held constant. A pre-existing aerobic composter was used and engineering tests run to ensure that requirements were met. Key experimental variables were identified: NO3- concentration and rate of addition, O2 concentration, mixing duration and frequency, and inoculum. Independent variables were pH, temperature, moisture, C:N ratio, feed material, size reduction, feed addition rate, and mode of operation. Important performance parameters included: maximization of desired outcomes – BOD5 removal, CO2 production, waste stabilization, and denitrification – and minimization of undesired products – N2O, NH3, and volatile organic compounds. Baseline composter operation was with a known solid waste feed: one run was aerobic and two with denitrifying conditions. Inocula were soil or a mixed microbial community enriched under denitrifying conditions. The results indicated the absence of an adequate inoculum.

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