Development of Advanced ISS-WPA Catalysts for Organic Oxidation at Reduced Pressure and Temperature
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The Water Processor Assembly (WPA) at International Space Station (ISS) processes a waste stream via multi-filtration beds, where inorganic and non-volatile organic contaminants are removed, and a catalytic reactor, where low molecular weight organics not removed by the adsorption process are oxidized at elevated pressure in the presence of oxygen and elevated temperature above the normal water boiling point. Operation at an elevated pressure requires a more complex system design compared to a reactor that could operate at ambient pressure. However, catalysts currently available have insufficient activity to achieve complete oxidation of the organic load at a temperature less than the water boiling point and ambient pressure. Therefore, it is highly desirable to develop a more active and efficient catalyst at ambient pressure and a moderate temperature that is less than water boiling temperature. This paper describes our efforts in developing high efficiency water processing catalysts. Different catalyst support structures and coating metals were investigated in subscale reactors and results were compared against the flight WPA catalyst. Detailed improvements achieved on alternate metal catalysts at ambient pressure and 200oF will also be presented in the paper.