#36: Closed Loop Life Support – 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention (2019)

 In BioSettler




#36: Closed Loop Life Support – 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention (2019)

Colin: Hi My Name is Colin Lennox, CEO of EcoIslands, BioMining Products, PermaCycler, BioSettlers; a whole bunch of fancy names for what is a self organizing wetland bioreactor.

I’ve been working in acid mine drainage…so self organizing wetland bioreactors (sowb’s).  Is anyone familiar with the term ECLSS, environmental control and life support system? Ok, great.  This is just a component, it is not the end all and be all.

This is a biological portion of a larger system with a lot of redundancies using good old fashioned thermal, mechanical, physio, chemical, geo, electro, whatever else you can think of… [the sowb] is in addition too.

The idea here being these wetland bioreactors are doing the large proportion, up to 90% of your basic cycling and regolith processing.  So natural attenuation is a term for nature cleaning things, cycling things, biogeochemical kind of cycling.

[A] Manufactured wetland, as opposed to natural or constructed wetlands are generally used in mining drainage remediation, which is where I cut my teeth.  And also my father was Dr John Lennox who worked in biofilm science as well, so the [biology] came through the family.

And also, shout out to Michigan State University Student Greenhouse Project and Bryan Versteeg [for allowing us to use their art work].

Ok, so, That’s doctor Bill Burgos.  Those are our wetland bioreactors. Those are a total of 3000 gallons [volume], they are running about 40 to 50 gallons a minute.  And this is a mine site impacted by iron and manganese.

Iron is a piece of cake to get out, manganese, not so much.  [We] generally have to run the pH…, if you’re familiar with alkalinity and acidity and the balance between the two determines the solubility of metals in solution.

In this case we’ve discovered, back in 2012 originally, that if you have wetland components and you get just the right mix of organic matter, flow rate, get the iron out you can get the manganese out.  And instead of going all the way up to 10 pH you can do it at a six and a half.

A lot of the studies we have coming back say that its actually fungi that are driving out the manganese oxide.  Don’t want to focus on that too much right now, but manganese oxide is in every cell phone in your pocket, that’s the cathodes….

Keep listening for much more on self organizing wetland bioreactors (sowbs) as a component of ECLSS systems.  Thanks all! Colin.  



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