Phases Management for Advanced Life Support Processes 2005-01-2767
For a planetary base, a reliable life support system including food and water supply, gas generation and waste management is a condition sine qua non. While for a short-term period the life support system may be an open loop, i.e. water, gases and food provided from the Earth, for long-term missions the system has to become more and more regenerative. Advanced life support systems with biological regenerative processes have been studied for many years and the processes within the different compartments are rather complete and known to a certain extent. The knowledge of the associated interfaces, the management of the input and output phases: liquid, solid, gas, between compartments, has been limited. Nowadays, it is well accepted that the management of these phases induces generic problems like capture, separation, transfer, mixing, and buffering.
A first ESA study on these subjects started mid 2003. This study, performed by Stork, TNO, Stirling and the University of Guelph, is limited to the main gas components, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide. Ammonia was included as a contaminant component. The study has been started with the establishment of a simulation model (closed loop) to identify the critical items, which is followed by the selection of the gas capture and recovery technologies, the development of a breadboard model and is finished by a set of experiments.
For the control of carbon dioxide (CO2), a dedicated activated carbon will be applied. This material, produced by Norit, is applied to control the CO2 at fruit storage, and pressure swing adsorption is applied for regeneration. In the breadboard set-up, electrical swing adsorption will be applied. This rather new technique has been selected to enable the development of a compact system which can be operated within almost any range atmospheric pressure, resulting in a safe system having a low mass.
This paper will report the status of these activities.