A New Lab for Testing Biofiltration for Advanced Life Support


Bioregenerative systems for removal of gaseous contaminants are desired for long-term space missions to reduce the equivalent system mass of the air cleaning system. This paper describes an innovative design of a new biofiltration test lab for investigating the capability of biofiltration process for removal of ersatz multicomponent gaseous streams representative of spacecraft contaminants released during long- term space travel. The lab setup allows a total of 24 bioreactors to receive identical inlet waste streams at stable contaminant concentrations via use of permeations ovens, needle valves, precision orifices, etc. A unique set of hardware including a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, and a data acquisition and control system using LabVIEW\sT software allows automatic, continuous, and real-time gas monitoring and data collection for the 24 bioreactors. This lab setup allows powerful factorial experimental design. In the initial phase of testing, the bioreactors will be operated in parallel to evaluate their ability to remove a complex mixture of contaminants including ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane, ethylene, acetone, and n- butanol at various operating strategies (e.g., different reactor configurations, packing medium types, gas residence time, and liquid types). Details of the experimental setup are presented herein together with pilot tests conducted to evaluate the lab setup.


Presented at International Conference On Environmental Systems, July 2005, Rome, ITALY, Session: Spacecraft Water/Air Quality: Maintenance and Monitoring II

Date of this Version

July 2005



Publisher Identifier:

SAE Document Number: 2005-01-3060


SAE International

ALS NSCORT Project Number

Project 7 - Biofiltration for Gaseous Trace Contaminant Removal for Advanced Life Support-air (BREATHe 2)

Project Lead

Albert J. Heber




Published Materials

Administrative Contact

Dave Kotterman, dkotter@purdue.edu


Copyright 2005 SAE International. For additional information please visit the intellectual property section of the publisher's website: http://www.sae.org/about/intelproperty/ or the publisher's home page at: http://www.sae.org


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