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Technical Paper

Novel Regenerable Incinerator Exhaust Purification and Trace Contaminant Control System Utilizing Humidity Swings

This paper offers a concept for a regenerable, low-power system for purifying exhaust from a solid waste processor. The innovations in the concept include the use of a closed-loop regeneration cycle for the adsorber, which prevents contaminants from reaching the breathable air before they are destroyed, and the use of a humidity-swing desorption cycle, which uses less power than a thermal desorption cycle and requires no venting of air and water to space vacuum or planetary atmosphere. The process would also serve well as a trace contaminant control system for the air in the closed environment. A systems-level design is presented that shows how both the exhaust and air purification tasks could be performed by one processor. Data measured with a fixed-bed apparatus demonstrate the effects of the humidity swing on regeneration of the adsorbent.
Technical Paper

Martian Atmospheric Utilization by Temperature-Swing Adsorption

Technologies that can be used to extract oxygen and other useful products from the Martian atmosphere for exploration missions will require compression of the low-pressure Martian gas. One technique that appears ideally suited for this application is temperature-swing adsorption, which can produce purified and compressed CO2 in a virtually solid-state process whose energy requirements can be met mainly through the diurnal temperature cycle. This paper focuses on material selection and sensitivity of this adsorption process to variations in Mars surface conditions. Experimental results indicate that, of the zeolite and carbon materials studied, a NaX zeolite is a superior adsorbent in terms of the amount of pressurized gas it can produce per unit mass of sorbent.
Technical Paper

Development of Next-Generation Membrane-Integrated Adsorption Processor for CO2 Removal and Compression for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization and Analysis of Desiccating Membrane

The current CO2 removal technology of NASA is very energy intensive and contains many non-optimized subsystems. This paper discusses the concept of a next-generation, membrane-integrated, adsorption processor for CO2 removal and compression in closed-loop air revitalization systems. The membrane module removes water from the feed, passing it directly into the processor's exhaust stream; it replaces the desiccant beds in the current four-bed molecular sieve system, which must be thermally regenerated. Moreover, in the new processor, CO2 is removed and compressed in a single two-stage unit. This processor will use much less power than NASA's current CO2 removal technology and will be capable of maintaining a lower CO2 concentration in the cabin than that can be achieved by the existing CO2 removal systems.