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Technical Paper

Development and Testing of a Microwave Powered Solid Waste Stabilization and Water Recovery System

2006-07-17
2006-01-2182
A Microwave Powered Solid Waste Stabilization and Water Recovery Prototype system has been developed for the treatment of solid waste materials generated during extended manned space missions. The system recovers water initially contained within wastes and stabilizes the residue with respect to microbial growth. Dry waste may then be safely stored or passed on to the next waste treatment process. Using microwave power, water present in the solid waste is selectively and rapidly heated. Liquid phase water flashes to steam and superheats. Hot water and steam formed in the interior of waste particles create an environment that is lethal to bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses. Steam contacts exposed surfaces and provides an effective thermal kill of microbes, in a manner similar to that of an autoclave. Volatilized water vapor is recovered by condensation.
Technical Paper

Catalytic Decomposition of Gaseous Byproducts from Primary Solid Waste Treatment Technologies

2006-07-17
2006-01-2128
Several solid waste management (SWM) systems currently under development for spacecraft deployment result in the production of a variety of toxic gaseous contaminants. Examples include the Plastic Melt Waste Compactor (PMWC) at NASA - Ames Research Center1, the Oxidation/Pyrolysis system at Advanced Fuel Research2, and the Microwave Powered Solid Waste Stabilization and Water Recovery (MWSWS&WR) System at UMPQUA Research Company (URC). The current International Space Station (ISS) airborne contaminant removal system, the Trace Contaminant Control Subassembly (TCCS), is designed to efficiently process nominal airborne contaminants in spacecraft cabin air. However, the TCCS has no capability to periodically process the highly concentrated toxic vapors of variable composition, which are generated during solid waste processing, without significant modifications.
Technical Paper

Microwave Enhanced Freeze Drying of Solid Waste

2007-07-09
2007-01-3266
A Microwave Enhanced Solid Waste Freeze Drying Prototype system has been developed for the treatment of solid waste materials generated during extended manned space missions. The system recovers water initially contained within wastes and stabilizes the residue with respect to microbial growth. Dry waste may then be safely stored or passed on to the next waste treatment process. Operating under vacuum, microwave power provides the energy necessary for sublimation of ice contained within the waste. This water vapor is subsequently collected as relatively pure ice on a Peltier thermoelectric condenser as it travels en route to the vacuum pump. In addition to stabilization via dehydration, microwave enhanced Freeze Drying reduces the microbial population (∼90%) in the waste.
Technical Paper

Catalytic Decomposition of Gaseous Byproducts from Primary Solid Waste Treatment Technologies

2008-06-29
2008-01-2053
Waste Management Systems (WMSs) designed for use aboard long-term spacecraft missions and within Lunar and planetary habitations must reduce volume and recover useful resources from solid wastes, as well as impart chemical and microbial stability to stored wastes. Many WMS processes produce high concentrations of toxic emissions that can periodically overwhelm Trace Contaminant Control Systems (TCCSs) designed to handle nominal atmospheric contaminants. A prototype Catalytic Oxidation System (COS) has been developed for this contingency, and when mated to different WMS processes, will treat these toxic emissions on an as-needed basis. The COS reactor utilizes a platinum and ruthenium bimetallic catalyst supported on mesoporous zirconia that is highly active and oxidizes at relatively low temperature a wide variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and inorganic toxic emissions produced by WMS processes.
Technical Paper

A Pilot Scale System for Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Recovery of Water

2009-07-12
2009-01-2365
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work was to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. TDA and NASA Ames Research Center have developed a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system to convert organic waste to CO2 and H2O.
Technical Paper

Biomass Conversion to Pumpable Slurries

1998-07-13
981757
The inedible portion of plant biomass in closed regenerative life support systems must be reprocessed producing recyclable by-products such as carbon dioxide, sugars, and other useful organic species. High solids biomass slurries containing up to 27 wt% were successfully prepared in a stirred batch reactor and then pumped using a single piston valveless pump. Wheat straw, potato, and tomato crop residues were acid hydrolyzed using 1.2 wt% sulfuric acid at 180°C and 1.2 MPa for 0.75-1.5 hours. Viscosity for a 25 wt% acid hydrolyzed wheat straw emulsion (Bingham-plastic) was 6.5 centipoise at 3 cm/sec and 25°C.
Technical Paper

Magnetically Assisted Gasification of Solid Waste

1999-07-12
1999-01-2183
A variety of techniques, including supercritical water oxidation, fluidized bed combustion, and microwave incineration have been applied to the destruction of solid wastes produced in regenerative life support systems supporting long duration manned missions. Among potential problems which still deserve attention are the need for operation in a variety of gravitational environments, and the requirement for improved methods of presenting concentrated solids to the reactor. Significant improvements in these areas are made possible through employment of the magnetically assisted gasification process. In this paper, magnetic methods are described for manipulating the degree of consolidation or fluidization of granular ferromagnetic media, for application in a gravity independent three step solid waste destruction process.
Technical Paper

Magnetically Assisted Gasification of Solid Wastes: Comparison of Reaction Strategies

2005-07-11
2005-01-3081
Gradient magnetically assisted fluidized bed (G-MAFB) methods are under development for the decomposition of solid waste materials in microgravity and hypogravity environments. The G-MAFB has been demonstrated in both laboratory and microgravity flight experiments. In this paper we summarize the results of gasification reactions conducted under a variety of conditions, including: combustion, pyrolysis (thermal decomposition), and steam reforming with and without oxygen addition. Wheat straw, representing a typical inedible plant biomass fraction, was chosen for this study because it is significantly more difficult to gasify than many other typical forms of solid waste such as food scraps, feces, and paper. In these experiments, major gasification products were quantified, including: ash, char, tar, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, oxygen, and hydrogen.
Journal Article

Development and Design of a Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Water Recovery System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2052
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. Previously, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature dry oxidation process using ozone in a small laboratory reactor.
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

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.
Technical Paper

Particle Size Effect on Supercritical Water Oxidation-Polystyrene Beads

1994-06-01
941399
Advanced space life support systems, especially systems that include growing plants to produce food, require the recovery of resources - primarily carbon dioxide and water - from various hydrocarbon wastes. Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) of wastes is one of several possible techniques for oxidizing waste organics to recover the carbon dioxide and water. Supercritical water oxidation has the advantages of fast kinetics, complete oxidation, and the minimization of undesirable side products. However, the SCWO process requires further development before the process can be implemented in space life systems. One of the SCWO development needs is in the area of destruction of insoluble solids - such as inedible biomass or human wastes. Insoluble solids have to be introduced into a SCWO reactor as particles, and it can be expected that the particle size of the solids will affect the rate of reaction.
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