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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

Development Status of a Low-Power CO2 Removal and Compression System for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization

The “low power-CO2 removal (LPCOR) system” is an advanced air revitalization system that is under development at NASA Ames Research Center. The LPCOR utilizes the fundamental design features of the ‘four bed molecular sieve’ (4BMS) CO2 removal technology of the International Space Station (ISS). LPCOR improves power efficiency by replacing the desiccant beds of the 4BMS with a membrane dryer and a state-of-the-art, structured adsorbent device that collectively require 25% of the thermal energy required by the 4BMS desiccant beds for regeneration. Compared to the 4BMS technology, it has the added functionality to deliver pure, compressed CO2 for oxygen recovery. The CO2 removal and recovery functions are performed in a two-stage adsorption compressor. CO2 is removed from the cabin air and partially compressed in the first stage. The second stage performs further compression and delivers the compressed CO2 to a reduction unit such as a Sabatier reactor for oxygen recovery.
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.