Water Recovery for Regenerative Life Support Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$125K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Thermal and environmental control systems for future exploration spacecraft must meet challenging requirements for efficient operation and conservation of resources. Regenerative CO2 removal systems are attractive for these missions because they do not use consumable CO2 absorbers. However, these systems also absorb water and vent it to space along with the carbon dioxide. This water loss can be prohibitively costly for long-duration missions. Conventional condensing heat exchangers for water conservation are not attractive, since they would add a significant load to a spacecraft's thermal control system. We propose to develop an innovative water recovery system that minimizes water lost from regenerative CO2 control systems without additional demands on the thermal control system. This approach addresses the need for water recovery systems in long-duration missions, reduces the need for consumables by enabling use of state-of-the-art regenerative CO2 removal systems, and minimizes demands on the spacecraft thermal control system. In Phase I we will prove the feasibility of our approach through proof-of-concept tests, trade-off studies, and prototype design. In Phase II we will build the prototype and measure its performance under conditions that simulate operation in a spacecraft life support system.