Testing Aquaporin InsideTM Membrane on the International Space Station - Part II
Maja Bender Tommerup
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Recently, forward osmosis has received increased attention in the market of water treatment in a wide variety of applications on earth. It has been tested in space on the international Space Station in 2015 and now a new set of experiment hardware will be tested on the ISS. The Aquaporin InsideTM membrane from Aquaporin A/S is utilizing forward osmosis in connection with water selective proteins (aquaporins). Preliminary ground testing at NASA Ames Research Center has demonstrated that the Aquaporin InsideTM membrane possess unique characteristics for the rejection of certain semi-volatile organics. The research focused on the Aquaporin InsideTM membrane’s ability to reduce the amount of Dimethylsilanediol (DMSD) in the ISS Water recycling system. NASA is currently evaluating the use of the Aquaporin InsideTM technology to replace the ISS Water Processor Assembly multifiltration beds. The aim is to eliminate the impact of DMSD and more importantly to reduce the resupply requirement for the ISS Water Processor Assembly. NASA tests have shown that the Aquaporin InsideTM membrane’s rejection of total organic carbon (TOC) is 98.9 ± 0.5% of all TOC present in ISS condensate feed, which exceeds the performance of the multifiltration beds. In addition to the in-flight testing performed by the Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen on September 2015, three new identical test systems are sent to the ISS to be tested on November 2016 by the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Volume data from the 3 test systems will indicate the performance of the Aquaporin InsideTM membrane in microgravity. Within 6 months, following the experiment, the systems including the processed water will be returned to ground for analysis. The result of the analysis will be ready early in 2017 and presented in the paper.