The solid waste team of NASA's Specialized Center of Research and Technology at Purdue University is currently developing a biological treatment method for the reduction/stabilization/recycle of solid waste components for a long-term crewed space mission. STAR, the Solids Thermophilic Aerobic Reactor, utilizes high temperature aerobic conditions to reduce waste volume, inactivate pathogens, and render products that may enter the recycle system by providing plant substrate, fish food, and mushroom growth medium. This process recovers and enables the reuse of nutrients, water, and carbon. The STAR system operates similarly to the autothermal thermophilic aerobic digester (ATAD). ATAD is in current, successful use for various solid waste treatments in terrestrial settings, for both municipal and industrial solid wastes. Treated wastes in this investigation include human feces, food residuals, plant biomass, and paper. Advantages of the STAR system include a reduced retention time, increased pathogen destruction, lower reactor volume requirements, and ease of automation. Incorporation of the EVAC toilet system allows research to include actual human feces, with no associated risk of exposure to pathogenic materials
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James E. Alleman
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Project 1 - Solid Thermophilic Aerobic Reactor (STAR)
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