Improved Dynamic Modeling of the Cascade Distillation Subsystem and Analysis of Factors Affecting Its Performance



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45th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The Cascade Distillation Subsystem (CDS) is a rotary multistage distiller being developed to serve as the primary processor for wastewater recovery during long-duration space missions. The CDS could be integrated with a system similar to the International Space Station Water Processor Assembly to form a complete water recovery system for future missions. A preliminary chemical process simulation was previously developed using Aspen Custom Modeler® (ACM), but it could not simulate thermal startup and lacked detailed analysis of several key internal processes, including heat transfer between stages. This paper describes modifications to the ACM simulation of the CDS that improve its capabilities and the accuracy of its predictions. Notably, the modified version can be used to model thermal startup and predicts the total energy consumption of the CDS. The simulation has been validated for both sodium chloride solution and pretreated urine feeds and no longer requires retuning when operating parameters change. The simulation was also used to predict how internal processes and operating conditions of the CDS affect its performance. In particular, it is shown that the coefficient of performance of the thermoelectric heat pump used to provide heating and cooling for the CDS is the largest factor in determining CDS efficiency. Intrastage heat transfer affects CDS performance indirectly through effects on the coefficient of performance.


Bellevue, Washington
Bruce A. Perry, Princeton University, USA
Molly S. Anderson, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA
The 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Bellevue, Washington, USA on 12 July 2015 through 16 July 2015.