1992-07-01

Gray Water Recycling with a Unique Vapor Compression Distillation (VCD) Design 921318

The majority of the waste water from small isolated outposts such as Antarctic bases and planned Lunar and Martian bases consists of gray water-- water from clothes- and dish-washing, and crew hygiene. Recycling this water is key to the development of a reliable and efficient life support system. This paper describes the design and test of a gray water recycling system based on vapor compression distillation (VCD) using a patented evaporator. The system has previously been tested using sea water and agricultural runoff as the feed, but gray water had never been tested.
The work covered in this paper evaluated the utility and performance potential of VCD in recycling gray water in partial- and full-gravity environments. The gray water recycling test used a defined gray water simulant as the input to the VCD system. Engineering data were taken and samples of the product distilled water, the waste brine, and original feed were collected as the operating parameters of the system were varied. Results show that this is an extremely efficient recycling system that produces excellent quality distilled water with recovery efficiencies of over 95%. Depending on the operating conditions, the energy consumption varied from 32 to 64 Watt-hours/kg (120 to 240 W-hr/gal) of condensate produced.

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