In space, no one can hear you pee…
NASA's Water Recovery System
But you’ll be able to safely drink it down again after it’s gone through the International Space Station’s Water Recovery System. According to NASA, the Water Recovery System, carried to the ISS by the space shuttle Endeavour, can recycle up to 93% of the water fed into it and reduce overall water consumption aboard the space station by 65%. However, the Water Recovery System has been experiencing problems with calcium fouling, which led NASA to contact Saltworks Technologies of Vancouver, CA.
Saltworks was contracted by NASA to build and deliver a pilot device that would test water recovery systems and may potentially be used aboard the ISS itself. If successful, the system will be the latest of Saltworks’ unique water treatment solutions.
One such solution is the proprietary Thermo-Ionic process for desalination. This process can reduce energy costs by up to 80% in comparison to more traditional methods such as reverse osmosis. The Thermo-Ionic process uses diffusion across a series of ion bridges to manipulate salt out of a stream of water. External power is only necessary to run the low-pressure pump that keeps the system circulating. A low-energy, high efficiency solution like this would be perfect for an isolated station where astronauts need to conserve both water and electricity.
Since being founded by Ben Sparrow and Joshua Zoshi in 2008, Saltworks Technologies has made global headlines with their innovative approach to water treatment. They have answered the challenges of desalination and industrial waste water treatment with efficient, sustainable solutions that may yet revolutionize the way we use water. They have been using Sterlitech’s Bench Scale Test Equipment to test and develop new technologies.
Bennett, Nelson. "Vancouver’s Saltworks Technologies Lands NASA Contract." Business In Vancouver. N.p., 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012. <http://www.biv.com/article/20120402/BIV0112/120409992/-1/BIV/vancouver-8217-s-saltworks-technologies-lands-nasa-contract>.
Cohen, Yoni. "O Canada! Land of Water Innovation!" Greentech Media. N.p., 06 Apr. 2010. Web. 06 Aug. 2012. <http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/oh-canada-land-of-water-innovation/>.
Mann, Malcolm. "Saltworks Awarded NASA Contract." Saltworks Technologies. N.p., 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012 <http://www.saltworkstech.com/news_20120316>.
Siceloff, Steven. "Recycling Water Is Not Just for Earth Anymore." National Aeronautics and Space Administration. N.p., 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 13 Aug. 2012 <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/behindscenes/waterrecycler.html>.