Highly Efficient Fecal Waste Incinerator

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

$125K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Umpqua Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Volume reduction is a critical element of Solid Waste Management for manned spacecraft and planetary habitations. To this end, the proposed fecal waste incinerator may be utilized to completely mineralize feces to harmless inorganic substances such as CO2 and water. These products may then be rerouted to the ECLSS processes for hydrogen CO2 reduction to form water and water electrolysis to yield oxygen and hydrogen. Fecal oxidation takes place in two coupled reactors utilizing advanced heat exchanger technology, one to incinerate the feces and the second to oxidize incineration products. Little energy input is required due to the use of fecal matter heat of combustion in combination with efficient heat exchange. Feces are incinerated immediately after collection, eliminating the need for waste stabilization that would otherwise be required to eliminate offensive odors and control microbial growth. All evolved gases including incompletely oxidized volatile organics are passed through a catalytic reactor, ensuring complete combustion to avoid loading the Trace Contaminant Control System. This innovative system is light, compact, simple, energy efficient, contains few moving parts, is virtually maintenance free, and requires little astronaut time.