Technologies Within this Project
Technology Details: Coiled Brine Recovery Assembly (CoBRA)
This technology is categorized as a hardware subsystem for manned spaceflight
Description of technology:
Brine water recovery is the final link in achieving closure of the water loop. It's a game-changer; if mastered, a technology gap is closed in providing a water supply for manned deep-space exploration missions. It is a challenging problem, however. When wastewater brines are dried, the residual is inevitably a viscous goo, laden with particles of precipitated solids. This brine residual causes problems for traditional recovery systems: clogging Pitot tubes, causing bearings to seize, fouling he...
Water recovery via brine processing is an absolute necessity for closure of the water loop. The fundamental problem faced by all water recovery systems when exceeding ~85% recovery is the precipitation of solids. In order for a brine processor to be reliable, it must be tolerant of the solids that are inherently generated during the process. This means minimizing the number of moving parts that come in contact with brine solids, and avoiding manipulation of brine residuals as a critical link in ...
This technology is primarily meant to recover water from concentrated wastewater brines. The current state-of-the-art water recovery level is 85%. Brine water recovery enables recovery levels in excess of this mark, with the potential to reach nearly 100% recovery of available water. While CoBRA technology is tailored to address the challenges of handling hazardous liquids in a microgravity spacecraft environment, it could be used to solve terrestrial problems as well. Potential applications on ...
Benefits to NASA funded missions
After the Coiled Brine Recovery Assembly (CoBRA} undergoes necessary further development, the technology could be integrated into the International Space Station (ISS) life support system as a brine processor. This has the potential to recover 575 pounds of water per year from brine. This represents roughly $10M per year in savings on water resupply costs.
Benefits to NASA unfunded & planned missions
While the primary function of the CoBRA is to recover water from concentrated wastewater brines generated by a primary processor, the CoBRA may be able to function as a primary processor itself. Current state-of-the-art primary processors rely on rotating drums, pitot pumps, lobe compressors, and other sensitive machinery for operation. This equipment has a history of becoming fouled due to solids precipitation. In the case of a failure of the primary processor, the CoBRA could serve as a backup, providing dissimilar redundancy to ensure crew survival. Upon successful demonstration of a proof-...
Benefits to the nation
Coiled Brine Recovery Assembly (CoBRA) technology also has the potential to be used for water recovery from contaminated wastes in the chemical, nuclear, and hydraulic fracturing industries.
U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners
|NASA Organizations Performing Work||Role||Location|
||Lead Center||Houston, TX|
||Supporting Center||Moffett Field, CA|
U.S. States with Work:
|U.S. States and Territories with Work on this Project|
Responsible Mission Directorate:
Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF (also includes JSC IRAD) Program
- John Falker
- Ronald Clayton
- Stuart Pensinger
- Stuart Pensinger
Project Technology Areas
- Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems (TA 6)
- Environmental Control and Life Support Systems and Habitation Systems (TA 6.1)
- Water Recovery and Management (TA 6.1.2)
- Brine Processing (TA 22.214.171.124)
Start Date: Dec 2013
End Date: Dec 2015
Project Technology Maturity
- Estimated End