Refine Your Search

Topic

Search Results

Technical Paper

Water Recovery from Wastes in Space Habitats-a Comparative Evaluation of SBIR Prototypes

2009-07-12
2009-01-2342
Water is of critical importance to space missions due to crew needs and the cost of supply. To control mission costs, it is essential to recycle water from all available wastes - both solids and liquids. Water recovery from liquid water wastes has already been accomplished on space missions. For instance, a Water Recycling System (WRS) is currently operational on the International Space Station (ISS). It recovers water from urine and humidity condensate and processes it to potable water specifications. However, there is more recoverable water in solid wastes such as uneaten food, wet trash, feces, paper and packaging material, and brine. Previous studies have established the feasibility of obtaining a considerable amount of water and oxygen from these wastes (Pisharody et al, 2002; Fisher et al, 2008; Wignarajah et al, 2008).
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

Waste Incineration for Resource Recovery in Bioregenerative Life Support Systems

1998-07-13
981758
Over the last three years, the University of Utah (UofU), NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), and Reaction Engineering International (REI) have been developing an incineration system for the regeneration of components in waste materials for long-term life support systems. The system includes a fluidized bed combustor and a catalytic flue gas clean up system. An experimental version of the incinerator was built at the UofU. The incinerator was tested and modified at ARC and then operated during the Phase III human testing at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) during 1997. This paper presents the results of the work at the three locations: the design and testing at UofU, the testing and modification at ARC, and the integration and operation during the Phase III tests at JSC.
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

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

Results Summary of the Life Support and Habitation and Planetary Protection Workshop

2006-07-17
2006-01-2007
A workshop entitled the “Life Support & Habitation and Planetary Protection Workshop” was held in Houston, TX in April, 2005. The main objective of the workshop was to initiate communication, understanding, and a working relationship between the Life Support and Habitation1 (LSH) and Planetary Protection (PP) communities regarding the effect of the implementation of Mars human exploration PP policies on the Advanced Life Support2 (ALS), Advanced Extravehicular Activity (AEVA), and Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control (AEMC) programs. This paper presents an overall summary of the workshop that includes workshop organization, objectives, starting assumptions, findings and recommendations. Specific result topics include the identification of knowledge and technology gaps, research and technology development (R&TD) needs, potential forward and back contaminants and pathways, mitigation alternatives, and PP requirements definition needs.
Technical Paper

Requirements Development Issues for Advanced Life Support Systems: Solid Waste Management

2002-07-15
2002-01-2479
Long duration missions pose substantial new challenges for solid waste management in Advanced Life Support (ALS) systems. These possibly include storing large volumes of waste material in a safe manner, rendering wastes stable or sterilized for extended periods of time, and/or processing wastes for recovery of vital resources. This is further complicated because future missions remain ill-defined with respect to waste stream quantity, composition and generation schedule. Without definitive knowledge of this information, development of mission requirements is hampered. Additionally, even if waste streams were well characterized, other operational and processing needs require clarification (e.g. resource recovery requirements and planetary protection constraints). Therefore, the development of solid waste management (SWM) subsystem requirements for long duration space missions is an inherently uncertain, complex and iterative process.
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

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

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.
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

Optimization of Waste Derived Elemental Use to Meet Demands of Crop Production of Selected BIO-Plex Crops

2000-07-10
2000-01-2285
In this paper we have developed a unique approach to providing the elements required for crop production in a steady-state condition, which is essential for Space habitats. The approach takes into consideration human elemental requirements and crop requirements for healthy growth and develops a method for the calculation of the rates of nutrient uptake for the different elements for different crops. The uptake rates can be used to calculate the rate of nutrient supply required in the hydroponic solution. This approach ensures that crops produced will not have excessive levels of elements that may be harmful to humans. It also provides an opportunity to optimize the processes of crop production and waste processing through highly controlled feed rates.
Technical Paper

On Demand Electrochemical Production of Reagents to Minimize Resupply of Expendables

1999-07-12
1999-01-2181
The electrosynthesis of expendable reagents including acids, bases, and oxidants from simple salts or salt mixtures has been demonstrated using a variety of electrochemical cells. A five chambered electrodialytic water splitting (EDWS) cell with bipolar membranes was utilized to efficiently convert sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium nitrate, and potassium chloride to conjugate acids and bases. With the same cell, selective segregation of cations and anions from mixed salt solutions occurred, resulting in relatively pure acids and bases. These results suggest that pure acids and bases can be produced from composite spacecraft brines. Chemical oxidants such as sodium and ammonium persulfate were also synthesized with high current efficiencies by the electrooxidation of salts and acids in a two chambered electrochemical cell.
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

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.
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

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

Investigating the Partitioning of Inorganic Elements Consumed by Humans between the Various Fractions of Human Wastes - An Alternative Approach

2003-07-07
2003-01-2371
The elemental composition of food consumed by astronauts is well defined. The major elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur are taken up in large amounts and these are often associated with the organic fraction (carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc) of human tissue. On the other hand, a number of the elements are located in the extracellular fluids and can be accounted for in the liquid and solid waste fraction of humans. These elements fall into three major categories - cationic macroelements (e.g. Ca, K, Na, Mg and Si), anionic macroelements (e.g. P, S and Cl and17 essential microelements, (e.g. Fe, Mn, Cr, Co, Cu, Zn, Se and Sr). When provided in the recommended concentrations to an adult healthy human, these elements should not normally accumulate in humans and will eventually be excreted in the different human wastes.
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

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.
X