We have combined all aspects of small space, low energy usage, effective operation, minimum consumables and working in microgravity for designing our new system and inspired by human digestive system to design our “Space Waste Digester.” As human digestive system is not depending on gravity and works based on peristalsis and valves and is a perfect system to design a system for handling waste in space. We have used this concept and designed our “Space Waste Digester” which is combination of trash receptacle and feed mechanism and will work seamlessly between the astronaut and reactor. Our system has been designed for microgravity condition and it will work much better and with less energy in this condition. We have used doors (valves) at the critical points within the system to avoid leaking of any gas or contamination from reactor and inside the “Space Waste Digester” to crew area.
Due to the usage of small movements and not huge force for feeder or trash receptacle the consumed energy will be at minimal and it would be below 500W. When there is no waste in the “Space Waste Digester” it automatically goes to idle stage and will use very small amount of energy for its detectors. Also due to very small movement and minimum force the noise level will be less than 50 decibels.
How does your technology interact with other components in the recycling system?
When the waste is in our system and is held by the holder, we can analyse it fully through using sensors and cameras. We can measure its moisture, shape, colour, size, type of waste and we will use these data to calculate the required pressure in squeezer and also in cutter and transfer tube but at the same time all these data can be used with other components of the recycling system. Also, our system can get the information from other components of the recycling system and can adjust the size of the waste in the cutter system. It can also change the speed of the feeder and the transfer tube and can change the sequence of the doors and the valves to open or close. In summary, our system is designed in a way that it can be interactive and even during operation it can change its parameters.
Also, if there is some feedback from other components of the recycling system our system can adopt and change its operation parameters. Because of this capability and also our unique transfer system, it can process different types of waste, such as wet or dry waste.
We have designed the system to use a holder as soon as waste is in trash receptacle and then using a pressure, we extrude the waste and finally our unique design of transfer tube will transfer the waste with small movement of the tube, it will push the waste along through this movement which make it unique.