Alternative Treatment of Crew Wastewater Using a Hybrid Membrane Technology

Date

2023-07-16

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems

Abstract

Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) of future long-duration, deep-space human exploration missions should aspire to meet the following guiding principles: 1) perform robustly and reliably, 2) minimize consumables which are hazardous and/or require frequent resupply, 3) avoid the generation of hazardous byproducts, and 4) preserve opportunities for waste resource recovery in mature phases of the mission. As a water source, urine is difficult to treat due to its high nitrogen concentration, tendency for high pH, propensity to off-gas ammonia, and high mineral content. At the same time, urine contains a plethora of nutrients which should be preserved as fertilizer when crop production is needed. The current state-of-the-art technology, the urine processing assembly (UPA) aboard the International Space Station (ISS), meets the first guiding principle. The incorporation of bioregenerative elements into next-generation water management, combining microbiology with physicochemical processes, has the potential to address all the guiding principles. A Suspended Aerobic Membrane Bioreactor (SAMBR) with biological nutrient removal (BNR) capabilities was developed by the University of South Florida and Kennedy Space Center. Intended for partial gravity habitat, SAMBR serves as a hybrid alternative to current water treatment technologies to support closing the resource recovery loop. With its modular and flexible design, SAMBR�s operation can be customized to meet treatment requirements (nitrogen removal, conversion, or recovery) as dictated by mission scope. This proceeding presents preliminary research pertaining to: 1) design challenges in maximizing hydraulic throughput while minimizing mass and volume of the assembly; 2) capabilities for treating high nitrogen waste under steady and non-steady state conditions; and 3) measured performance parameters such chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrogen conversion, nutrients, turbidity, and system throughput. Future research and development pertaining to further optimization on system safety, reliability, and expanded treatment capabilities will also be presented.

Description

Talon Bullard, University of South Florida, USA
Alexandra Smith, University of South Florida, USA
Benjamin Hoque, University of South Florida, USA
Celia DeVito, University of South Florida, USA
Katrina Haarmann, University of South Florida, USA
Flaubert Akepeu, University of South Florida, USA
Ana Ferret, University of South Florida, USA
Robert Bair, University of South Florida, USA
Daniel Yeh, University of South Florida, USA
Paul Long, Forward Designs LLC, USA
Melissa Collins, Forward Designs LLC, USA
Mark Fehrenbach, Forward Designs LLC, USA
Daniella Saetta, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Jason Fischer, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Luke Roberson, NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
ICES303: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & 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.

Keywords

Membrane Bioreactors Biological Nitrogen Removal Resource Recovery Early Planetary Base Partial Gravity Habitat Environmental Control and Life Support Systems

Citation