NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X3.02-9715
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Water Processing and Waste Management Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Nonhazardous Urine Pretreatment Method for Future Exploration Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
UMPQUA Research Company
PO Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-2655

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James R. Akse, Ph.D.
PO Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-2653

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A nonhazardous urine pretreatment system prototype is proposed that will stabilize urine against biological growth or chemical instabilities without using hazardous chemicals. Untreated urine fosters biological growth, ammonia off-gassing, creation of bio-solids, and inorganic precipitates, which foul water and air reclamation hardware. The current Russian system employs hexavalent chromium, a strong oxidant and carcinogen, and sulfuric acid to stabilize urine (pH=1.8), while the future American system utilizes Oxone„¥, a strong oxidant, potassium hydrogen sulfate, and potassium benzoate to stabilize urine (pH=2.4). Urine stabilized by these methods requires triple and double containment, respectively. Chemical storage, handling, and delivery of pretreatment chemicals are also problematic due to their hazardous nature and low pH, which significantly increases Equivalent System Mass. The proposed prototype will utilize non-oxidizing biocides in combination with nontoxic and noncorrosive solid phase urine acidification to stabilize urine at much higher pHs (3.6-5.5). This approach has stabilized urine effectively for over 57 days during the Phase 1 program. The innovative prototype will fulfill an unmet need for safe, efficient, automated urine pretreatment for current and future NASA missions. The Phase 2 project will automate the nonhazardous urine pretreatment system, and deliver a fully functional Prototype suitable for testing at NASA facilities.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The NASA application of this innovative, safe, efficient and automated urine pretreatment hardware will be as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of future long duration missions such as the International Space Station, Lunar transit, and Lunar base. The primary application will be as a replacement for current urine pretreatment systems aboard the ISS. Secondarily, this device can be used to stabilize other waste streams, which are prone to microbial instability. It is anticipated that numerous other uses will be found for this system within NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This urine pretreatment technology may be employed in a variety of applications to provide a means for safe and stable urine storage. In the near term, this technology can be applied to storage onboard recreational vehicles, ships, airplanes, or in conjunction with portable restroom facilities. The capability to effectively store urine can be the basis for a new technology, in which, urine is collected in bulk, stored, and treated to reduce the environmental impact of treatment facilities and improve treatment efficiency. Solid phase acidification may also be used for control of pH in analytical instrumentation and industrial processes.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomedical and Life Support
Sterilization/Pathogen and Microbial Control
Waste Processing and Reclamation

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36