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Enabling Technologies for Water Reclamation in Future Long-Term Space Missions: Wastewater Resource Recovery for Energy Generation


University of Puerto Rico/NASA Ames Research Center, Human Exploration & Operations and Space Technology Mission Directorates

Astronauts drink water made from recycled urine and other wastewater aboard the International Space Station. A new system would turn urine into drinking water and produce energy, a step toward long-term space travel.

Dr. Eduardo L. Nicolau-Lopez, Science PI, University of Puerto Rico

Dr. Michael Flynn, NASA Technical Monitor, Ames Research Center

The research goal of this project is to develop multifunctional water purification membranes for the removal of contaminants from wastewater. These membranes are fabricated with dual function to withstand bacterial growth and also serve as a catalytic platform. The purpose of this is to generate purified water while generating electricity and other valuables from wastewater, but also preventing membrane biofouling to achieve long-term operation. This project is performed in direct collaboration with the NASA Ames Research Center and is aligned to the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate that states as a goal: to perform basic research proving new insights into problems affecting people on the Earth and understanding and developing the systems and protocols necessary for humans to venture beyond low Earth orbit for extended durations. With this project we have been able to leverage our previous efforts in the area of water purification while generating electrical current as the next-generation of technologies to support life on earth and abroad. This project has enabled establishing the Laboratory for Water Reclamation and Multifunctional Materials with the acquisition of state of the art instrumentation that is unique in Puerto Rico. This allows for collaborations with other researchers from Puerto Rico and the Mainland. Moreover, the instrumentation acquired is pertinent to the industry, which opens up new venues for collaboration and possible revenues for reinvestment. Last but not least, our students have been able to successfully access other research opportunities such as NASA fellowships and internships. NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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