At present, surface disinfection in NASA space vehicles is accomplished through the use of pre-packaged, disposable, wetted wipes, which represent an appreciable carry-along mass and disposal burden. The proposed hydrogen peroxide generation system offers a more economical and practical alternative, with the disinfectant solution being generated in situ and applied to reusable cloths, reducing both the carried and disposed mass associated with the disinfection process. The stock materials for the disinfectant solutions would consist of dry buffer salts and detergents, reconstituted with water from onboard supply prior to passage through the generation system and application to suitable reusable cloths.
The proposed innovation has the potential to be useful in a variety of situations where disinfection of contact surfaces is of importance. The specific application as described by the program solicitation topic is that of crew contact surfaces in space vehicles, but the system would be valuable in a broad range of other settings as well. Some potential applications include naval warships and military field hospitals, where lightweighting of the logistical chain is a key consideration. As well, chemical laboratory environments represent a possible application, where on-site generation of hydrogen peroxide for experimental use may be of value. More broadly, the global commercial market for hydrogen peroxide is sizeable, with a projected growth rate of 5.6% over the next decade. Thus, in addition to in situ generation applications, the technology could also be valuable as an alternative method for commercial synthesis of hydrogen peroxide.