Effects of Transitioning to Physicochemical and Biological Hybrid System on ECLSS Material Circulation



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


An Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is an essential system for living in outer space. As represented by the International Space Station (ISS), this system provides the metabolic needs of the crew using physicochemical processes. In addition, the ISS is highly dependent on resupply from the Earth. Beyond low-Earth orbit, where resupply becomes more difficult, it is necessary to regenerate and circulate more of the materials in the system. In order to increase the regeneration rate of substances from the current level and close the material circulation, we must consider food production and waste recycling in ECLSS. Food production, especially bioregenerative processing such as plant cultivation, has both merits and difficulties associated with integration with physicochemical processes. For example, biological processing can process multiple chemical substances at once, although a slow process, the interdependencies make it difficult to tune each treatment, and there are large uncertainties on process rates. On the other hand, plants produce biomass and oxygen from carbon dioxide without material loss, whereas the ISS must currently dispose of carbon dioxide. When ECLSS uses bioregenerative processing, we expect that the circulation system will be constructed with only physicochemical processers at first, and then gradually replaced with bioregenerative processors. In the past, there have been studies on the material circulation of physicochemical equipment including some biological treatment, but almost no research has been conducted on the system transition between physicochemical and bioregenerative processes. The objective of this research is to identify the challenges that are likely to occur when replacing some of the physicochemical treatments with ones that are bioregenerative.


Masakatsu Nakane, Nihon University, Japan
James Nabity, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
ICES301: Advanced Life Support Systems Control
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


System Level Material Circulation, Material Circulation Control, System Transformation, Hybrid System