Investigating Waste Preparation Methods for Trash-to-Gas Technologies



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


Trash-to-gas technologies show promise in addressing the need for a sustainable waste management system onboard long-duration space habitats. However, a clear understanding on how the initial preparation and transport of waste into the reaction zone can affect the overall conversion efficiency must be realized. Factors such as the waste size, moisture content, and packing density can have significant impacts on the reactor performance. The goal of this study was to leverage current state-of-the-art preparation and delivery mechanisms to develop a concept for a full-scale, microgravity compatible system that can prepare and deliver waste that enhances the overall solid-to-gas conversion of existing trash-to-gas technologies. An extensive literature review was conducted to select potential candidates for such a system. High-performing candidates were tested in the laboratory environment using a mixed waste stream (organics and inorganics) to determine how these methods affect the total syngas production in a combustion reactor. This work will help lay the framework for implementation in a full-scale trash-to-gas system on exploration class space missions.


Malay Shah, NASA Kennedy Space Center, US
Ray Pitts, NASA Kennedy Space Center, US
Morgan Benson, NASA Kennedy Space Center, US
Jonathan Gleeson, The Bionetics Corporation, US
ICES304: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Waste Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Trash-to-gas, Waste Management, Waste Preparation, Logistics Reduction, Syngas