In-Situ Electrochemical Generation and Utilization of Hydrogen Peroxide for Disinfection


Disinfection needs to meet personal hygiene requirements at the International Space Station (ISS) is currently accomplished through the use of pre-packaged, disposable, wetted wipes, which represent an appreciable carry-along mass and disposal burden. However, as human missions travel further into the solar system the availability of resources to resupply will be diminished. Therefore, next-generation system should use onboard utilities to create on demand disinfectants thereby reducing the dependence on earth-based supplies and further eliminating storage and disposal problems.

Accordingly, we are developing an in-situ approach to electrochemically generate hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solution utilizing onboard life support supplies (Air/Water) to neutralize surface microorganisms present in closed living systems. As discussed within our 2019 and 2021 ICES papers (ICES-2019-38; ICES-2021-273), we have continued to improve our TRL by scaling the electrochemical generation production process and validating the system in a zero-gravity parabolic loop flight test.

In this paper/presentation we will demonstrate a system that can achieve over 1 L of 2 w/w% peroxide per day with DI water and air reactor feeds. These electrolytes were then sent to NASA for microbial control property characterization.

Overall, the electrochemical peroxide generation system offers a more economical and practical alternative, with the disinfectant being generated on demand and in-situ (using available life support materials (Air/Water)); and applied to reusable cloths. The specific application of interest to this program is crew contact surfaces in space vehicles, but this approach could be utilized for waste water disinfection, heat exchanger biofouling remediation, and laundry applications. The peroxide generation system will also be able to address Earth-based needs in various settings such as field hospitals, restaurants, military, warehouses, movie theatres, among many others.

Acknowledgements: Financial support of NASA Contracts No. NNX16CA43P and NNX17CJ12C are acknowledged.


Santosh Vijapur, Faraday Technology, Inc., US
Timothy Hall, Faraday Technology, Inc., US
E. Jennings Taylor, Faraday Technology, Inc., US
Santosh More, Faraday Technology, Inc., US
Jeffrey Sweterlitsch, NASA Johnson Space Center, US
Michael Ewert, NASA Johnson Space Center, US
Sarah L. Castro-Wallace, NASA Johnson Space Center, US
Vicky Byrne, KBR, US
Brandon Dunbar, GeoControl Systems, Inc., US
Hang Nguyen, JES Tech, US
Melanie Smith, JES Tech, US
ICES308: Advanced Technologies for In-Situ Resource Utilization
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Disinfection, Hydrogen Peroxide, Oxygen Reduction Reaction, In-situ Resource Utilization, Electrochemical reactor