Analysis of Volatile Compounds from CO2 Removal Systems



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


One of the primary concerns when designing CO2 scrubber systems that will be integrated with a Sabatier reactor to produce water and methane is the amount of water released from the scrubber. Because the gas stream entering a Sabatier reactor must be compressed, water entering the reactor can condense and compromise the integrity of the system, thus rendering its valuable conversion capability useless. When the Johnson Space Center Environmental Chemistry Laboratory was tasked to develop an assay to quantify the water concentration in air samples from CO2 scrubbers, additional testing was also performed to see if any other compounds were being concentrated on the scrubbers. It was thought that the efficiency of the scrubber systems could be quantified by comparing the differences in samples from the ambient air on the International Space Station (ISS) to the exit gas of the scrubber. As this analysis was carried out, it became evident that the concentrations of certain volatile compounds were higher in the samples from the scrubbers than they were in nominal environmental samples. This meant these compounds were being retained and concentrated on the scrubber beds. Based on this finding, concerns were raised about their potential for these compounds to poison the Sabatier reactor. Further investigation was required to identify these compounds due to their high concentrations and unique matrix of the CO2 scrubber exhaust. This paper describes these events as well as the process that was developed to identify the volatile compounds that increased. An examination of how much the certain compounds can be concentrated by the scrubber systems is also included.


Cristina M. Muko, KBR, USA
William M. King, KBR, USA
Edgar K. Hudson Jr., JES-Tech, USA
William T. Wallace, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
E. Spencer Williams, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
Daniel B. Gazda, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
ICES504: Management of Air Quality in Sealed Environments
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


CO2, CO2 scrubber, air quality, volatiles, analysis