Supercritical Water Oxidation for Wastewater Recovery – Status on Recent Testing of Ersatz Wastewater and a Conceptual Design for Near-Term Lunar Application



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


Water is a necessary resource for crewed space exploration missions and the efficient reclamation of aqueous waste streams presents the only long-term viable option for achieving a sustainable extra-terrestrial human presence. Although early Artemis missions are considering water as part of the payload manifest, it would be extremely advantageous if follow-on missions were supplied — either in total or in part — by a reclamation technology that would operate autonomously between missions. NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) employs a Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) process that has demonstrated the successful destruction of all organic hydrocarbons in a typical International Space Station (ISS) aqueous waste stream. SCWO conversion has shown reductions in Total Organic Carbon (TOC) consistently greater than 99% with reactor residence times less than 3 s and average reaction temperatures ca. 620° C. Recent effort has been directed toward developing a conceptual design based on the current tubular reactor used in the evaluation of the conversion of SCWO. This conceptual design along with the results of recent SCWO conversion experiments will be presented. Recent design enhancements to achieve shorter residence times along with "production simulation" tests will be presented. The diagnostics used in assessing the extent of the waste conversion include a total organic carbon (TOC) analysis, Raman analysis, along with measurements of pH, turbidity, and conductivity. Results obtained from the modified reactor configuration will also be compared to those of the Phase I configuration presented in earlier work.


Sheldon Scott, Prairie View A&M University, USA
Michael Hicks, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), USA
Uday Hegde, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Jun Kojima, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Daniel Gotti, Universities Space Research Association, USA
Rosa E. Padilla, Universities Space Research Association, USA
Yuhao Xu, Clemson University, USA
ICES303: Physico-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


Water Reclamation, Supercritical Water Oxidation, Supercritical, Water, Oxidation, Lunar, Lunar Base, Total Organic Carbon, Raman, Raman Spectroscopy