Membrane Distillation Bags for Water Recovery in Trash Compaction and Processing Systems
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) crewed spacecraft use containers to store waste derived from food, water, and other supplies. The trash bags occupy a large volume and present a significant logistical concern, especially for long duration missions. In order to reduce the volume of waste, control microbial growth and recover water, NASA has developed a heat melt compactor (HMC) unit. In this work, trash bags fabricated using selectively water permeable polymeric membranes were tested in a heat melt compactor test unit. Recovery of water from solid waste and encapsulation of the waste after water recovery was achieved. Water was recovered from a waste simulant at various temperatures, and the total organic content (TOC) in recovered water was analyzed. The results showed up to a 50 - 85% reduction in TOC for the reclaimed water using membrane distillation bags (MD-BAGs) depending on the HMC process temperatures, the vacuum used, and pressure applied on the bag.