Investigations into the Performance of Membrane-Aerated Biological Reactors Treating a Space Based Waste Stream
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Two demonstration size membrane aerated biological reactors (MABR) CoMANDR 1.0 and CoMANDR 2.0 have previously demonstrated their ability to stabilize an early planetary base (EPB) waste stream over operating periods of ~1 year. Biological stabilization includes oxidation (>90%) of dissolved organic matter to CO2, partial conversion of organic N to NOx-, and reduced pH. Biological stabilization has a number of advantages including: 1) elimination of hazardous pre-treat chemicals; 2) production of N2(gas); 3) production of metabolic water; 3) a low pH effluent that facilitates membrane and distillation processes; and 4) a effluent that produces a better quality and less hazardous brine for water recovery. Preliminary analysis suggests that water recovery systems that integrated biological treatment may trade favorably compared to all physical/chemical systems. However, previous systems have incorporated reactor geometries and membrane specific surface areas which are not flight compatible. The R-CoMANDR (rectangular Counter-diffusion Membrane Aerated Nitrifying Denitrifying Reactor) system was developed to evaluate the ability of the smaller footprint reactor treat the range of possible waste streams (e.g. ISS to EPB) as well as the potential to operate without a feed tank. Individual waste streams (e.g. urine, hygiene, laundry, humidity condensate) are directly fed to the reactor on production. We will present performance data and evaluate the new flight like system design compared to previous systems.