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Technical Paper

Investigations into Water Recovery from Solid Wastes using a Microwave Solid Waste Stabilization and Water Recovery System

2009-07-12
2009-01-2341
A microwave powered solid waste stabilization and water recovery prototype was delivered to Ames Research Center through an SBIR Phase II contract awarded to Umpqua Research Company. The system uses a container capable of holding 5.7 dm3 volume of waste. The microwave power can be varied to operate either at full power (130 W) or in a variable mode from 0% and 100%. Experiments were conducted with different types of wastes (wet cloth, simulated feces/diarrheal wastes, wet trash and brine) at different levels of moisture content and dried under varying microwave power supply. This paper presents the experimental data. The results provide valuable insight into the different operation modes under which the prototype can be used to recover water from the wastes in a space environment. Further investigations and testing of the prototype are recommended.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Microwave Enhanced Freeze Drying Technology for Processing Solid Wastes

2008-06-29
2008-01-2051
A Microwave Enhanced Freeze Drying Solid Waste (MEFDSW) processor was delivered to NASA-Ames Research Center by Umpqua Company having been funded through a Small Business Innovative Research Phase II program. The prototype hardware was tested for its performance characteristics and for its functionality with the primary focus being the removal of water from solid wastes. Water removal from wastes enables safe storage of wastes, prevents microbes from growing and propagating using the waste as a substrate and has potential for recovery and reuse of the water. Other objectives included measurements of the power usage and a preliminary estimate of the Equivalent System Mass (ESM) value. These values will be used for comparison with other candidate water removal technologies currently in development.
Journal Article

Waste Management Technology and the Drivers for Space Missions

2008-06-29
2008-01-2047
Since the mid 1980s, NASA has developed advanced waste management technologies that collect and process waste. These technologies include incineration, hydrothermal oxidation, pyrolysis, electrochemical oxidation, activated carbon production, brine dewatering, slurry bioreactor oxidation, composting, NOx control, compaction, and waste collection. Some of these technologies recover resources such as water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon, fuels, and nutrients. Other technologies such as the Waste Collection System (WCS - the commode) collect waste for storage or processing. The need for waste processing varies greatly depending upon the mission scenario. This paper reviews the waste management technology development activities conducted by NASA since the mid 1980s and explores the drivers that determine the application of these technologies to future missions.
Technical Paper

Simulated Human Feces for Testing Human Waste Processing Technologies in Space Systems

2006-07-17
2006-01-2180
Handling and processing human feces in space habitats is a major concern and needs to be addressed for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) as well as for future exploration activities. In order to ensure crew health and safety, feces should either be isolated in a dried form to prevent microbial activity, or be processed to yield a non-biohazardous product using a reliable technology. During laboratory testing of new feces processing technologies, use of “real” feces can impede progress due to practical issues such as safety and handling thereby limiting experimental investigations. The availability of a non-hazardous simulant or analogue of feces can overcome this limitation. Use of a simulant can speed up research and ensure a safe laboratory environment. At Ames Research Center, we have undertaken the task of developing human fecal simulants. In field investigations, human feces show wide variations in their chemical/physical composition.
Technical Paper

Influence of Planetary Protection Guidelines on Waste Management Operations

2005-07-11
2005-01-3097
Newly outlined missions in the Vision for U.S. Space Exploration include extended human habitation on Mars. During these missions, large amounts of waste materials will be generated in solid, liquid and gaseous form. Returning these wastes to Earth will be extremely costly, and increase the opportunity for back contamination. Therefore, it is advantageous to investigate the potential for wastes to remain on Mars after mission completion. Untreated, these wastes are a reservoir of live/dead organisms and molecules considered “biomarkers” (i.e., indicators of life). If released to the planetary surface, these materials can potentially interfere with exobiology studies, disrupt any existent martian ecology and pose human safety concerns. Waste Management (WM) systems must therefore be specifically designed to control release of problematic materials both during the active phase of the mission, and for any specified post-mission duration.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Mission Location on Mission Costs and Equivalent System Mass

2003-07-07
2003-01-2633
Equivalent System Mass (ESM) is used by the Advanced Life Support (ALS) community to quantify mission costs of technologies for space applications (Drysdale et al, 1999, Levri et al, 2000). Mass is used as a cost measure because the mass of an object determines propulsion (acceleration) cost (i.e. amount of fuel needed), and costs relating to propulsion dominate mission cost. Mission location drives mission cost because acceleration is typically required to initiate and complete a change in location. Total mission costs may be reduced by minimizing the mass of materials that must be propelled to each distinct location. In order to minimize fuel requirements for missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), the hardware and astronauts may not all go to the same location. For example, on a Lunar or Mars mission, some of the hardware or astronauts may stay in orbit while the rest of the hardware and astronauts descend to the planetary surface.
Technical Paper

Reactive Carbon from Life Support Wastes for Incinerator Flue Gas Cleanup - System Testing

2002-07-15
2002-01-2401
NASA Ames Research Center and Lawrence Berkeley National lab have completed a three-year joint NRA research project on the use of waste biomass to make a gaseous contaminant removal system. The objective of the research was to produce activated carbon from life support wastes and to use the activated carbon to adsorb and remove incineration flue gas contaminants such as NOx. Inedible biomass waste from food production was the primary waste considered for conversion to activated carbon. Previous research at NASA Ames has demonstrated the adsorption of both NOx and SO2 on activated carbon made from biomass and the subsequent conversion of adsorbed NOx to nitrogen and SO2 to sulfur. This paper presents the results testing the whole process system consisting of making, using, and regenerating activated carbon with relevant feed from an actual incinerator. Factors regarding carbon preparation, adsorption and regeneration are addressed.
Technical Paper

Experimental Results Obtained with a Pilot Scale System to Remove Pollutants from an Incinerator Effluent

2002-07-15
2002-01-2395
Incineration is a promising method for converting biomass and human waste into CO2 and H2O during extended planetary exploration. Unfortunately, it produces NOX and other pollutants. TDA Research has developed a safe and effective process to remove NOX from waste incinerator product gas streams. In our process, NO is catalytically oxidized to NO2, which is then removed with a wet scrubber. In a SBIR Phase II project, TDA designed and constructed a pilot scale system, which will be used with the incinerator at NASA Ames Research Center. In this paper, we present test results obtained with our system, which clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to NOX control.
Technical Paper

Considerations in Selection of Solid Waste Management Approaches in Long-Duration Space Missions

2002-07-15
2002-01-2476
Solid Waste Management (SWM) systems of current and previous space flight missions have employed relatively uncomplicated methods of waste collection, storage and return to Earth. NASA's long-term objectives, however, will likely include human-rated missions that are longer in both duration and distance, with little to no opportunity for re-supply. Such missions will likely exert increased demands upon all sub-systems, particularly the SWM system. In order to provide guidance to SWM Research and Technology Development (R&TD) efforts and overall system development, the establishment of appropriate SWM system requirements is necessary. Because future long duration missions are not yet fully defined, thorough mission-specific requirements have not yet been drafted.
Technical Paper

Reactive Carbon from Life Support Wastes for Incinerator Flue Gas Cleanup

2000-07-10
2000-01-2283
This paper presents the results from a joint research initiative between NASA Ames Research Center and Lawrence Berkeley National lab. The objective of the research is to produce activated carbon from life support wastes and to use the activated carbon to adsorb and chemically reduce the NOx and SO2 contained in incinerator flue gas. Inedible biomass waste from food production is the primary waste considered for conversion to activated carbon. Results to date show adsorption of both NOx and SO2 in activated carbon made from biomass. Conversion of adsorbed NOx to nitrogen has also been observed.
Technical Paper

Incineration of Inedible Biomass in a Regenerative Life Support System - Developmental Efforts at NASA Ames Research Center

2000-07-10
2000-01-2282
Of the many competing technologies for resource recovery from solid wastes for long duration manned missions such as a lunar or Mars base, incineration technology is one of the most promising and certainly the most well developed in a terrestrial sense. An incinerator was used to recover and recycle part of the waste produced during the Early Human Testing Initiative Phase 3 (EHTI 3) at Johnson Space Center. The fluidized bed incinerator developed for the EHTI testing was a joint initiative between Ames Research Center, University of Utah and Johnson Space Center. Though in no way an optimized system at that time, the fluidized bed combustor fulfilled the basic requirements of a resource recovery system. Valuable data was generated and problem areas, technology development issues and future research directions were identified during the EHTI testing.
Technical Paper

Particle Size Effect on Supercritical Water Oxidation- Wheat Straw Particles

1995-07-01
951739
For Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO), particle size is a key factor effecting requirements for feed preparation, slurry concentration and pumping, rate of reaction, and reactor size. To address these issues, an experimental research program was undertaken to evaluate the effect of particle size on the reaction kinetics in SCWO of solid particulates (wheat straw and cellulose particles in this case). The experiments also included evaluation of the effects of temperature, pressure, and agitation. Some corrosion data were obtained. A two-step reaction mechanism was revealed. Empirically based mathematical relationships were developed that can be used for SCWO system design.
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