Water recovery from wastewater sources is key to long duration human exploration missions. Without substantial water recovery, life support system launch weights are practically impossible. Water recovery systems currently used on the international space station (ISS) are complex, involving high temperature and pressures to recycle water from humidity condensate and urine. The process also uses toxic chemicals to stabilize urine and produce brines as byproducts which needs to be safely stored on-board. Therefore, NASA is interested in improving the current water recovery process by reducing complexity, decreasing the number of consumables to carry on-board, improve safety and reliability, and to achieve a higher percentage of water recovery from various water sources including human bio metabolic products. Extensive research work using nanotechnology has resulted in the demonstration of improved catalytic oxidation, microbial control, anti-fouling, disinfection, water quality monitoring, and removal of trace organic and inorganic contaminants from wastewater. This proposed Phase I STTR effort, will demonstrate a new nanotechnology based on photocatalytic decontamination of organics for water recovery application.
The nanoporous catalyst developed in this project will form a subsystem for the purification of water recovered from wastewater generated in crewed space missions.
The nanoporous photocatalyst technology has a wide applicability because it includes not only drinking water treatment but also entire advanced wastewater treatment systems, such as municipal waste water and industrial wastewater