Application of Membrane Bioreactors in the Preliminary Treatment of Early Planetary Base Wastewater for Long-Duration Space Missions


Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are the preferred technology for the preliminary treatment of Early Planetary Base Wastewater (EPBW) because of their compact configuration and promising treatment performance. For long-duration space missions, irreversible membrane biofouling resulting from the strong attachment of biomass and the formation of biofilms are major concerns for the MBR process. In this study, a MBR was operated for 230 days treating synthetic EPBW. The reactor demonstrated excellent treatment performance, in terms of chemical oxygen demand removal and nitrification. Filtration resistance is mainly caused by concentration polarization, reversible fouling, and irreversible fouling. Analysis of the microbial communities in the planktonic and corresponding sessile biomass suggested that the microbial community of the planktonic biomass was significantly different from the one of the sessile biomass. This study provides valuable information for the development of the water reuse component in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (Washington, D.C.) Advanced Life Support system for long-term space missions.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Biofouling; Biological materials; Biological water treatment; Biomass; Bioreactors; Chemical oxygen demand; Chemical reactors; Chromatographic analysis; Colloids; Electrophoresis; Gelation; High pressure liquid chromatography; Industrial chemicals; Life support systems (spacecraft); Liquid chromatography; NASA; Oxygen; Porous materials; Renewable energy resources; Salvaging; Wastewater; Wastewater reclamation; Water conservation; Water supply; Advanced life supports; Chemical oxygen demand removals; Concentration polarizations; Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography; Early planetary base wastewater; Filtration resistances; Irreversible fouling; Membrane biofouling; Membrane bioreactors; Microbial communities; National Aeronautics and Space Administrations; Preliminary treatments; Space missions; Treatment performances; Washington; Water reuses; Wastewater treatment; activated sludge; biofilm; nitrification; solid; bioreactor; concentration (parameters); filtration; fouling control; microbial community; nucleotide sequence; plankton; polarization; priority journal; sessile species; waste water management; waste water recycling; Biodegradation; Environmental; Ecological Systems; Closed; Humans; Sewage; Space Flight; Waste Disposal; Fluid; Water Microbiology; Water Purification

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2008 Water Environment Federation, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2008