A New Lab for Testing Biofiltration for Advanced Life Support 2005-01-3060
Bioregenerative systems for removal of gaseous contaminants are desired for long-term space missions to reduce the equivalent system mass of the air cleaning system. This paper describes an innovative design of a new biofiltration test lab for investigating the capability of biofiltration process for removal of ersatz multi-component gaseous streams representative of spacecraft contaminants released during long-term space travel. The lab setup allows a total of 24 bioreactors to receive identical inlet waste streams at stable contaminant concentrations via use of permeations ovens, needle valves, precision orifices, etc. A unique set of hardware including a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, and a data acquisition and control system using LabVIEW™ software allows automatic, continuous, and real-time gas monitoring and data collection for the 24 bioreactors. This lab setup allows powerful factorial experimental design. In the initial phase of testing, the bioreactors will be operated in parallel to evaluate their ability to remove a complex mixture of contaminants including ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane, ethylene, acetone, and n-butanol at various operating strategies (e.g., different reactor configurations, packing medium types, gas residence time, and liquid types). Details of the experimental setup are presented herein together with pilot tests conducted to evaluate the lab setup.