National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is seeking technologies for the separation and removal of gas bubbles from water. Any solution will have to overcome the inherent challenges of operating in microgravity, such as the lack of buoyancy that can be harnessed for separation.
The currently used water storage containers on-board the ISS suffer from gas permeation into the containers, which builds up to form bubbles. The presence of these bubbles has a detrimental effect on certain processes in water treatment and recovery, and therefore NASA are seeking technologies to remove those bubbles. Preference will be given to solutions that are passive (non-powered, no sweep gas required) due to the constraints of operating in space.
Ideal solutions should:
- Provide reusable passive gas separation (non-powered, no sweep gas required)
- Maintain water quality suitable for drinking
- Support a flow rate of at least 500 mL/min (potential to develop a solution with a lower flow rate currently)
- Minimize crew time required for maintenance
- Capture 100% of the free gas in the water stream
Possible Solution Areas
- Oil & Gas processing
- Inkjet debubbling
- Life sciences liquid handling (PCR, microfluidics)
- Wastewater processing technologies
Desired Outcome of the Solution
NASA is open to different partnership opportunities; partnering with a solution provider with a prototype or commercial technology would be preferable.