A major challenge for the long-term space missions is the supply of water . Since refill of water is not possible at distant missions, complete regeneration of water is inevitable . Existing Water Recovery System (WRS) on International Space Station (ISS) processes only 74% of the total anticipated wastewater load on longer exploration missions. While more contaminated liquids require more advanced solutions. Meanwhile, the space exploration market is rapidly developing and forecasts predict the space industry to grow to a trillion dollars by the 2040s.
At the request of the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA) in 1988, Scarab Development AB reviewed all water technologies available for long term space missions. This was conducted in co-operation with experts from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2016 the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) conducted a study which reviewed the actual technology available at ISS. The study concluded that state-of-the-art technology would not be enough for voyages for long missions to space. Moreover, it would be impossible to adapt existing technology to the needs of deep space travel and set up a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) resource recovery system.
After a joint technical aid mission to the Soviet Union following the Chernobyl disaster, a co-operation for the treatment of urine in space was instigated in 1988 between the Swedish State Company, Soviet Academy of Science and Scarab Development. When both the Swedish State Company and the Soviet Union were privatized and fell apart, Scarab Development itself continued the technical development. Now, it’s not just a question of urine. As a first step, Scarab has proven complete removal of all substances from H2O and complete recovery of H2O. The company has developed a completely new water treatment separation technology that is proven by several third-party tests to be more efficient in removing any contaminants than any state-of-the-art species.It has been shown that the technology can be used to treat any kind of feed to the highest purity with ZLD. This is exactly what is needed for extended stay in space.
Following more than thirty years of work with water treatment technology on Earth, the concept of HYDROMARS has been developed exclusively for use in space with the goal of commercializing a closed water regeneration system in space with ZLD . The remaining challenge is to adapt the HYDROMARS technology to conditions in micro gravity and deep space for long-term missions.