Development of a Low-Power CO2 Removal and Compression System for Closed-Loop Air Revitalization in Future Spacecraft
Continuous removal of carbon dioxide is one of the most critical processes in a spacecraft air revitalization system. Recovery of the waste carbon dioxide and its subsequent conversion to oxygen become essential for long-duration human space missions beyond Low-Earth orbit where re-supply of consumables such as oxygen is neither practical nor economical. The current CO2 removal technology employed in the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the International Space Station (ISS) operates in an open loop mode where the waste CO2 is vented to space. A compressor is required to facilitate CO2 recovery capabilities. The CO2 removal process itself is one of the most energy-intensive processes in the life support system of the ISS due to the water vapor recovery method involved in the process. This paper discusses the design and development of a low-power CO2 removal system that has capabilities to recover and compress the CO2 for recycling oxygen.