Analysis of the Solid Products from the OSCAR and the AOWG Trash Processing Systems



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


Two trash conversion systems that process space logistical trash for conversion into gases and liquids have minor solid product formation consisting of primarily high carbon ash, inorganic salts and aluminum metal flakes. These solid products necessarily comprise part of the system output because the thermal degradation processes intentionally operate at temperatures below aluminum vaporization and do not convert all solid inorganics or carbon-based compounds into gaseous compounds (i.e. CO2 or CH4). The two systems included the Orbital Syngas/Commodity Augmentation Reactor (OSCAR) combustion system funded by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) located at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Advanced Organic Waste Gasifier (AOWG) steam reforming system developed by Pioneer Astronautics in Lakewood, Colorado, and funded by the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD). OSCAR residual solids were collected from suborbital flight and ground-based laboratory testing, while all AOWG samples were collected from ground testing. This report discusses the solid product characterization, including elemental analyses performed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and surface chemistry performed with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). A particle size analysis was performed with sieves, followed by SEM analyses. These analyses were performed to elucidate what high value products can be extracted or utilized from the solid products for follow on infusion into chemical feedstocks, manufacturing additives, or in-situ construction-based material needs.


Anne Meier, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Mahmoud Matar Abed, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Stacy Carrera, Pioneer Astronautics, USA
David Rinderknecht, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Joel Olson, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES304: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Waste Management 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.


Trash to Gas, OSCAR, Combustion, Steam reforming, ISRU, ash analysis, trash conversion, waste processing, construction feedstock, additive manufacturing