Update of the Ground-Based Liquid Amine Horizontal Contactor Test System



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


As NASA continues to pursue longer durations of crewed space flight missions, the importance of a robust carbon-capture system is becoming more evident. Currently, NASA relies on a packed bed of zeolite pellets to remove carbon dioxide from the International Space Station cabin air. While this is a proven technique, NASA and the Environmental and Life Support System community are continuously looking for alternatives that are lighter, take up less volume, draw less power, and are more reliable. One method being investigated is a system using a liquid amine to absorb carbon dioxide from the cabin air stream. Because the liquid must be in contact with cabin air in a microgravity environment, possible exposure to crew must be mitigated. This can be achieved with the use of V-shaped channels which use capillary action to keep the liquid contained within the channel. Since amount of CO2 removed is a function of sorbent surface area, the contactor liquid surface area will need to be designed and sized to account for the CO2 removal requirements per crew member. Ground-based test data to date has evaluated vertical contactor channels, which have a delta from microgravity performance due to the gravity effect in the vertical orientation. Therefore, a new horizontal channel contactor design, operable in any gravity or absence thereof, was built and tested. An analytical model of this new design was also developed in Aspen Custom Modeler. Both tools will be used to further understand the fluid characteristics, CO2 absorption, and scale up requirements for the overall liquid amines CO2 removal system.


Tiago Costa, KBR / NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Lisa Chu, Barrios Technology Inc., USA
Grace Belancik, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Jason Samson, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Lawrence Barrett, Jacobs Technologies Inc., USA
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization Systems -Technology and Process Development
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


liquid amines, carbon capture, aspen modeling, test data, ECLSS, microgravity liquid containment