Glass of purified water
Pre-Treatment Solution for Water Recovery
The pre-treatment solution increases the solubility of calcium in urine brines by reducing the concentration of sulfates. When the solution is properly dosed, it enables biological, physical, and chemical stabilization of flushed urine for storage and distillation up to a steady 87% water recovery, as realized aboard the U.S. segment of the ISS, without precipitation of minerals such as gypsum. Turning wastewater or seawater into potable water requires three important steps shared by the UPA and Water Recovery System (WRS) aboard the ISS: 1) pre-treatment, 2) distillation or membrane filtration, and 3) transport and storage of potable water and brine. Added during the first step, the pre-treatment solution improves the efficiency of the UPA by reducing the formation of solid precipitates caused by urinary calcium, sulfate ions, and sulfuric acid. This reduction in-turn creates less acidic brines which means more water can be recovered along with less surface scaling and clogging, further increasing recovery. As an added benefit, the solution contains a biocide that prevents the growth of bacteria and fungus, thereby increasing storage time of the treated urine. Although the pre-treatment solution was developed for the ISSs UPA , the technology can potentially be used on Earth to pretreat contaminated water from organic-laden, high-salinity wastewaters. Adding the solution is a simple process that can be scaled to fit demand. It has the potential to improve water recovery in many applications such as: desalination plants, brackish water treatment, mining water treatment, hydraulic fracturing operations, and more. The pre-treatment solution may also lend itself for use in the transport and storage of wastewater due to the solution's ability to prevent microbial growth.
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