Water Vapor Recovery from Plant Growth Chambers 911502
NASA is investigating the use of plant growth chambers (PGCs) for space missions and for bases on the moon and Mars. Key to successful development of PGCs is a system to recover and reuse the water vapor that is transpired from the leaves of the plants.
In this paper a design is presented for a simple, reliable, membrane-based system that allows the recovery, purification, and reuse of the transpired water vapor through control of temperature and humidity levels in PGCs. The system is based on two membrane technologies: 1) dehumidification membrane modules to remove water vapor from the air, and 2) membrane contactors to return water vapor to the PGC (and, in doing so, to control the humidity and temperature within the PGC). The membrane-based system promises to provide an ideal, stable growth environment for a variety of plants, through a design that minimizes energy usage, volume, and mass, while maximizing simplicity and reliability.